Remembering Chuck Turner
MPDC mourns the loss of Roxbury advocate Chuck Turner, who died on Christmas Day. Many of our important early struggles would not have succeeded without the grassroots support organized in part by Chuck Turner, a committed Roxbury activist. Chuck Turner, who served ten years (2000-2010) as District 7 City Councilor representing Roxbury, first worked as an organizer for South End Neighborhood Action Program (SNAP) and was in Lower Roxbury in 1966 when Roxbury residents burned trash in Madison Park to protest the city’s disregard for the neighborhood. Thanks to Chuck and other community activists, this event elicited a massive gathering of local residents, signaling that Lower Roxbury bore significant grassroots power and scaring the city into cleaning up the park! 

Also, in the 1960s and early 1970s, Chuck helped MPDC fight urban renewal plans, gaining Boston Redevelopment Authority approvals to build housing at Madison Park Village. He was key to successful efforts to stop Interstate 95. 

He was founding director of Northeastern University’s African-American Institute and actively involved in the Boston Black United Front, among many other social justice endeavors. As a steering committee member of the Boston Jobs Coalition, he worked to oversee diversity compliance on city-owned projects. In that role, Chuck has worked alongside MPDC staff since 2015. He pushed to establish the Boston Residents Jobs Policy in 1983, a city ordinance requiring construction hiring percentages for residents, people of color, and women; in 2016, his continued advocacy helped revise the ordinance, significantly increasing the city requirements. Chuck Turner was not afraid; he led an exceptional life working for equity, empowerment, and social justice. 

 May he rest in power.
December 2019 @ MPDC
MPDC's 'Fall Into Winter' event spreads holiday warmth & cheer!
MPDC's 'Fall Into Winter' event was held by the MPDC Health Equity & Community Wellness team alongside our community gardeners on Thursday, December 12th at The Dewitt Center. The festive event provided residents of all ages with wintertime clothing & essentials needed to stay warm during winter in Boston. Over 150 residents attended the event where MPDC community gardeners helped to giveaway scarves, gloves, hats, coats, lip balms, and winter-related safety resources & information.

Thank you to everyone who donated to make the event a success: United Way , Roxbury Open Studios , Boston City Councilor At-Large Annissa Essaibi–George , Security Services Specialists , Katrina Conrad , Jamal Herring , Michelle Sofi , & Everything is Real Hair Care .

Special shout out to all of our amazing volunteers!
A delightful December at
The Dewitt Center!
The Dewitt Center has lots of engaging programs, workshops, activities, and events planned for Winter and we hope you will join us to #DoItAtTheDewitt!
Through February, we are looking forward to hosting returning programs such as  PI-TAP (Positively Impacting Teens & Parents) and welcoming new ones such as  BLVCK Flag Dance Crew . We also have lots of special events planned such as a festive  hot cocoa bar
Be sure to check The Dewitt Center calendar for the latest events and updates.
Interested in hosting a community event or program at
The Dewitt Center?
Fill out our inquiry form  here  or contact  Erica Davis  / 617.541.3900 for more information.
Over 100 people gathered for the Somali American Youth Parent Association (SAYPA) community lunch at the Dewitt Center to discuss recent violence against youth. Attendees brainstormed ways to positively impact youth in the community . SAYPA is a nonprofit organization that promotes social identity within African immigrants in matters of tradition and education. They aspire and help assimilate young immigrants to American culture in forms of community-wide events and intense group engagement. Visit The Dewitt Center to learn how you can enroll in their after school program!
MCR Labs held a Cannabis Career Fair at The Dewitt Center. The event kicked off with a panel of local dispensary workers, lab agents, & entrepreneurs who shared their journey into the industry. Panelists included Sabrina Guerrier, MCR Labs Client Services Agent, Jason Chavez, COO at Mass Citizens for Social Equity, Kim Napoli, NETA 's Director of Diversity Programs, and Shantey Santiago, former retail dispensary agent. After the panel, attendees connected with potential employers , community advocates & industry leaders. The career fair offered free resources, including interview tips, resume reviews, professional headshots, and more.
The Massachusetts Historical Society hosted a four-part "Housing as History" series on the history of public and affordable housing in Boston. Boston has been a national leader in efforts to bring much needed public and affordable housing to its residents. However, the city’s housing legacy is as complicated as it is innovative . This four-part series looked at the history of six housing sites across the city and examined the conditions for affordable and public housing today. The session hosted at The Dewitt Center featured the history of Dudley Square Neighborhood Initiative and Orchard Gardens Apartments .
The annual Harmony & Hope: Responding to Violence with Music Concert was held at The Dewitt Center on December 14th, in honor of Survivors of Homicide Victims Awareness Month . The Harmony & Hope Concert is an annual community event designed to celebrate the lives of those lost to violence and to serve as a collective stand against gun and street violence in Boston. The concert connects us to our common humanity, offers a respite from pain, and provides a renewed sense of gratitude and joy for life.
The Dewitt Center was thrilled to host the Make a Child Smile Toy Giveaway on December 14th. Sister’s Helping Each Other and the Jermall Fonte Williams Scholarship Inc. partnered to give out toys to over 300 families . The day was fun-filled with arts & crafts, a hot cocoa bar, food, and games!
Also, on December 14th, The Local Organizing Committees of Health and Human Services & Dora Muhammed partnered for a community clothing drive . Each family that donated a bag of clothing was entered into a raffle to win a bike. Over 50 bikes were raffled off , courtesy of Big Brother Big Sisters of America . The event also featured networking opportunities for entrepreneurs and small business owners, an open mic, and children's activities.  
Stay connected by following The
Dewitt Center Facebook & Instagram pages!
Workforce Diversity Spotlight:
Isaiah Crosby
Isaiah Crosby is a father of four who was referred to MPDC by a friend of his participating in MPDC's Opportunity Employment Program. Isaiah met with MPDC's Workforce Diversity Manager, Katrina Conrad , on December 12th. After three months of being unemployed, on December 13th, Isaiah was hired by J&R Carpentry . “He’s a great addition to the team, we are excited to teach him more,” said Diego Oliveira, owner of J&R Carpentry.

Are you looking for employment or a new career?
Need help finding qualified, work-ready Boston residents
for your project?
Connect with  Katrina   / 617.849.6226.
Become an MPDC Donor in 2020!
Many thanks to those who made a generous donation to MPDC in 2019!  Your support is much appreciated, as it’s made an enormous difference in the life of the Roxbury community. You’ve supported MPDC’s health and wellness programs, its youth development work; our resident engagement endeavors; our public safety committees, all that transpires at The Dewitt Center, and important cultural economic development at Hibernian Hall.
Make a plan now to support MPDC Programs, The Dewitt Center, and Hibernian Hall in 2020!  You can help us enter a new decade with a donation to help sustain MPDC’s work alongside Roxbury residents to continue to build their leadership and ensure community well-being. 
We invite you to join an active cohort of major donors this year!   Contact Kay Mathew , MPDC Resource Development Manager / 617.849.6335, to learn about ways you can give to MPDC.
Donate online today or send your donation to MPDC at 184 Dudley Street, Roxbury, MA 02119.
We wish all our Friends and Supporters a Happy New Year filled with peace and hope.  
Dewitt Center Spotlight:
Exhala Yoga
The Dewitt Center is happy to welcome Exhala Yoga as a new program for our members! Exhala Yoga Founder, Jaissa Feliz, created Exhala Yoga because she believes that yoga is a powerful tool for healing and transformation; however, there are not many spaces in Boston where people of color with different body types feel comfortable. Exhala Yoga provides an inclusive and safe space for people of all colors, backgrounds, and body types to experience transformation and healing through yoga practice.

Classes include breathing and mindfulness techniques, warm-ups, and posture sequences. Classes are open to adults age 18+ at all levels of experience. Join Exhala Yoga this winter at the Dewitt Center on Saturdays at 11 am.
A December to remember at
Hibernian Hall!
Hibernian Hall was excited to close out the 2019 season with Melvin Murphy's 'Celebrate The King,' a modern-day musical version of the Birth of Christ. Nearly 500 people attended the production between December 13th to 15th. Congratulations to Melvin Murphy and his entire cast & crew for a fabulous weekend of performances!
Stay connected by following Hibernian Hall!
MPDC staff attend NeighborWorks Training Institute in Portland
The final NeighborWorks Training Institute (NTI) of 2019 took place in Portland, Oregon, otherwise known as "The City of Roses." Portland was the perfect backdrop for thousands of individuals to come together to address today's community development challenges .

The conference featured opportunities to build skills and develop strategies through workshops, courses, and peer networking sessions that took place between the Oregon Conference Center and Hilton Portland Downtown . MPDC Staff participated in a kick-off meeting for the NeighborWorks Peer Learning Community, where over the next eight months, MPDC will work with six organizations throughout the country exploring models for building strategic health sector partnerships .

MPDC's new CEO, Leslie Reid , participated in the Leaders Forum for new NeighborWorks organization directors. MPDC's Real Estate team participated in a Low Income Housing Tax Credit Compliance course that provided a more in-depth understanding of the income certification process for residents, while Development & Communications staff learned how to market MPDC's programs more effectively and how to inspire change through advocacy .
Life Science Cares partners with MPDC
MPDC is thrilled to share that we have been selected as a  2019-20 Life Science Cares partner organization ! This award will support our innovative and growing adult workforce initiatives , led by Katrina Conrad , MPDC’s Workforce Diversity Project Manager, which leverages MPDC’s expansive network of construction industry partners to provide credentialing, training, and job site placement assistance for residents of Roxbury and other Boston neighborhoods. As an LSC partner, MPDC will also gain access to a transformative network of skilled volunteers from Greater Boston’s life sciences industry.

Founded in 2017, Life Science Cares partners with two dozen social service organizations and nearly 400 life science companies . In 2019, those companies collectively contributed 5,300 hours of volunteer service and donated $250,000 worth of goods, including baby diapers, warm coats, laptop computers, and holiday gifts.

We look forward to kicking off this exciting partnership in 2020!  
Celebrating Stephanie Thomas Day
in Boston!
On December 12th, Mayor Martin J. Walsh declared it to be Stephanie Thomas Day in the City of Boston!

Stephanie Thomas has been a Whittier Street resident since 1954. For the past 12 years, she has served as President of the Whittier Street Task Force , co-leading the residents through a redevelopment process as part of the Whittier Choice Neighborhoods Initiative . Recently, Stephanie was a speaker at MPDC's ribbon-cutting celebration of Melnea Cass Apartments. As a lifelong Roxbury resident, Stephanie has had a tremendous and lasting impact on her community . She has worked as a resident Peer Health Leader, an educator, a community activist & leader, and is a caring neighbor. She has conducted resident walking groups, yoga classes, and connected residents to health workshops. Congratulations, Stephanie!
MPDC Youth visit the
Roxbury Innovation Center
On Saturday, December 14th, MPDC's Youth Development team accompanied youth to the Roxbury Innovation Center for an 'Intro to Networking and Teamwork' workshop facilitated by Bernadine The Truth and Leaders of Tomorrow (LOT) . During the workshop, MPDC youth had an opportunity to connect with LOT's youth participants & staff, discuss the importance of building social & cultural capital , and practice networking tools and tips.
Thank you, Santander!
We remain grateful to the Santander Bank Foundation for its support of and confidence in our First Time Home Buyers’ Program , where we have already seen the program work for several households who have moved from rental housing into their own homes. Without funders like Santander , First Time Homebuyers Program would not easily reach the families who need its resources. Thank you, Santander!
MPDC Staff Spotlight:
5 Questions with Valerie Basnight
As a way for our community to learn more about our staff members, we have started the '5 Questions' series. These monthly interviews in our newsletters feature five random questions with an MPDC staff member.
This month we are chatting with Communications & Resource Development Associate, Valerie Basnight (or, as everyone calls her, Val).

 1. What is the Communications & Resource Development Associate's role at MPDC?
V : The Communications & Resource Development Associate supports the development, communications, and marketing efforts at MPDC. My role includes focusing on individual giving, membership coordination, and support around grant research and contract solicitations from foundations, public agencies, and corporations. I also maintain social media accounts for MPDC , Hibernian Hall , and The Dewitt Center , provide support and media coverage at MPDC events, and create marketing materials.

2. What are some MPDC initiatives that you are excited about?

V : I appreciate the way MPDC creates a much-needed space for artists & creative community members in Boston.
3. Where is your favorite place to visit in Roxbury?
V : My favorite spot in Roxbury is Dudley Café . They have great events, good food, and a relaxing atmosphere.
4. What do you like to do in your spare time?
V : My time outside of MPDC is spent coordinating events for small businesses and creative individuals, volunteering in a variety of capacities as a member of the Junior League of Boston , and serving in one of my Board or Committee roles at The Philanthropy Connection .
5. What do you hope for the future of Roxbury?
 V : My hope for Roxbury is that community members continue to get the resources needed to help them flourish in Greater Boston.
PASS OVER and Restorative
Justice Panel
Join Hibernian Hall for a preview of SpeakEasy 's PASS OVER and a special panel.

WHEN: Tuesday, January 7
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

WHERE:  Hibernian Hall
(184 Dudley Street, Roxbury)

Please join us for a special event surrounding SpeakEasy Stage Company's production of PASS OVER by Antoinette Nwandu. Following a performance from the show's artists, we will gather for an exclusive panel, entitled "Restorative Justice and Healing After Loss". Moderated by Pascale Florestal, this conversation will be an opportunity to hear from mothers who have lost their children to gun violence in Boston and from artists working to use art as a method of healing and awareness. After the panel, join us for a reception, featuring a light dinner.
Dewitt Center Hot Chocolate Bar
Stop by The Dewitt Center for a
delicious warm beverage!

WHEN: Wednesday, January 15
4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

(122 Dewitt Drive, Roxbury)

Customize your own cocoa with marshmallows, peppermints, and cookies provided by The Dewitt Center.
Mel King Institute Training:
Introduction to Census Data
Learn all about the 2020 U.S. Census !

WHEN:  Wednesday, February 5
1:00 pm - 4:00 p m

(122 Dewitt Drive, Roxbury)

This introductory-level, hands-on workshop will help you learn about some of the latest online tools available to help you assemble, analyze, and present data from the U.S. Census for your community.
Registration is required.
Still I Rise: 17th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute Concert
Boston Children's Chorus ' annual concert honoring Dr. Martin Luther King.

WHEN:  Thursday, February 27
7:00 p m

  WHERE:  Hibernian Hall
(184 Dudley Street, Roxbury)

This annual concert shines a light on the struggle to be seen and recognized. Maya Angelou’s anthemic poem reminds us of our hidden power to transcend boundaries. Featuring selections from composers like Duke Ellington, Melanie DeMore, and Stephen Sondheim, this performance at Hibernian Hall will inspire you to rise and reach for your sky.
MPDC Holiday Hours
Madison Park Development Corporation offices, The Dewitt Center & Hibernian Hall will be 
Closed: Monday, January 20, 2020
We apologize for any inconvenience.