Sunday, December 10, 2006

reaching out, while living in the middle of it all

A Family of Fighters - The Boston Globe: Here's a long read about a couple whose strategy and tactics seem to be working, as they draw nearer to the spiritual through immersion in the community.

"'They are what I call 'quiet storms.' They don't beat their chests or seek attention,' says Colette Phillips, a longtime Boston publicist who works with communities of color. 'You almost don't know what they are doing until they are already fully engaged in it.' Certainly, as power families in Boston go, this one is unique. For starters, they are African-American transplants in a city that has few visible leaders of color. But it's more than that. They have earned their positions not through wealth or political connections but through an ability to bring people together across barriers of class and race. 'They have the ultimate transit visa,' says Boston Foundation president Paul Grogan. 'They can cross any frontier in this city, from the boardrooms of the wealthiest individuals to the kids on the meanest streets in Boston.' With the state's first black governor poised to take office, there is renewed hope that Greater Boston may finally be able to shed its stubborn label of being a hard place to live for minorities, especially blacks, and that the region will instead eventually be seen as an increasingly multicultural haven. If that shift does materialize, there may no family – black, white, Asian, or other – in a better position to affect the future of the city on all levels, from grass roots to boardroom, than the Hammonds. In fact, in many ways, the Hammonds already seem like the first family of that 'new Boston,' a feat they've achieved not in spite of, but because of, the raw challenges and sometimes painful burdens they faced along the way.

'I'm glad you are going to tell the real story, and not just turn us into saints," Gloria White-Hammond says when we meet at a screening at the Museum of Fine Arts. "

Video link: A Glory from the God: The story of Gloria White-Hammond

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