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One America - Community Change, Inc.

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One America

Program: Community Change, Inc., Boston, MA
Contact(s): Louie A. Enriquez, Esq., Executive Director, or Paul Marcus, Special Projects Coordinator: (617) 523-0555
Purpose: To address issues of institutional racism

Background Program Operations Outcomes


Community Change was founded in 1968 by Rev. Horace Seldon, a minister based in Boston who, following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., wanted to provide the city with an organization that would address issues of institutional racism and its underlying causes and consequences. The mission of Community Change has evolved from its original concept 30 years ago. Today, Community Change also takes on a grassroots organizing and training capacity for local community activists.

Program Operations

Community Change has several programs, including the Library on Racism, the Training Collective and the Drylongso Awards. The Library on Racism is an extensive collection of over 2,000 books and resources, and it serves as a venue for holding dialogues on anti-racism through its lecture series. The Training Collective Program provides community members and other organizations with workshops to help them address issues of institutional racism and build stronger networks to tackle the issues. However, Community Change is best recognized for its Drylongso Awards ceremony, which is inspired by and takes its name from the 1993 book Drylongso: A Self-Portrait of Black America, written by anthropologist John Langston Gwaltney. The word "drylongso" is an African word referring to ordinary people who do extraordinary work. Community Change established this award ceremony in 1989 to honor people who are doing extraordinary work in the anti-racism effort in Greater Boston.

Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments

Attendance for many of Community Change's programs is strong. For example, the Library on Racism averages about 300 patrons per year, the Training Collective Program operates 6 to 8 sessions per year, and the Drylongso Awards Ceremony boasts an attendance of nearly 250 people. Overall, the organization is credited for granting everyday community members with a location to organize and address common discrimination issues.

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