(BOSTON, MA) – ABCD President and CEO Sharon Scott-Chandler, Esq. announced that Lawrence O’Donnell, host of MSNBC’s The Last Word, and State Representative Justin J. Pearson of the “Tennessee Three” will engage in a keynote conversation at Boston’s most empowering event, the ABCD Community Heroes Celebration on Friday, November 3 at the Boston Marriott Copley Place beginning at 6:00 p.m. NBC 10’s Glenn Jones will emcee the gala which honors people who are making a difference daily in the communities that ABCD serves in Greater Boston and the Mystic Valley.
A leading community action agency, ABCD provides underserved residents and communities with access to the tools and resources needed to transition out of poverty/low-income status through a multitude of services such as early education and childcare, energy, workforce development, food stability, housing, health services, and youth and elder programs.
According to Scott-Chandler, advocating for and empowering underserved and under-represented communities is part of the organization’s DNA. “Since our inception during the tumultuous 1960’s, ABCD has blazed a trail in every aspect of anti-poverty and social justice work in Greater Boston,” she said. “Society is once again at a tipping point. This crucial conversation between leaders and advocates who use their platforms to forward the dialogue about social issues is vital, and will bolster our 2023 Community Heroes who are on the front-lines.”
This is a pivotal time in society, much like 1960’s when ABCD was designated Boston’s anti-poverty agency. There have been two major Supreme Court decisions in the past year that impact underserved people disproportionately, gun violence is still an almost daily occurrence, Washington has been historically shaken, and 2024 is a critical election year. Always a voice and advocate for the people, ABCD is hosting this keynote conversation to inspire those on the front lines of social justice and to help
articulate how everyday people can lift their voices and become civically engaged to improve not only their communities but society at large.
MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell is also an Emmy Award-winning executive producer and writer for The West Wing, served as senior advisor to Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY), and chief of staff to the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works and the Senate Finance Committee. He is the author of Deadly Force and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times among others. Born in Boston, O’Donnell graduated from Harvard College.
Representative Justin J. Pearson is one of the “Tennessee Three” who rose to prominence in April 2023 after being expelled from the Tennessee legislature along with another Black Democrat, Representative Justin Jones, following a peaceful protest for gun safety in response to a mass school shooting. Their shocking expulsion was possible due a disciplinary rule only used twice since the 1800’s, while Representative Gloria Johnson, who is white, was spared although she also participated in the peaceful protest. Both Mr. Pearson and Mr. Jones were reinstated and went on to win the general election last summer.
Representative Pearson is founder of Memphis Community Against Pollution, formerly known as Memphis Community Against the Pipeline, a Black-led environmental justice organization that successfully defeated a multi-billion dollar crude oil pipeline project that would have poisoned Memphis’s drinking water and stolen land from South Memphis residents. Prior to founding MCAP, Pearson served as special assistant to the CEO at Year Up, a national workforce development nonprofit that focuses on social, racial and economic justice. Learn more about the 2023 Community Heroes Celebration at abcdheroes.org.
About ABCD: A nonprofit human services community action organization, ABCD provides underserved residents of Boston and the Mystic Valley area with the tools, support and resources they need to transition from poverty to stability and from stability to success. Each year, the organization serves more than 100,000 individuals, elders and families through a broad range of innovative initiatives as well as long-established, proven programs and services. For 60 years, ABCD has been deeply rooted in every neighborhood and community served, empowering individuals and families and supporting them in their quest to live with dignity and achieve their highest potential. For more information, please visit bostonabcd.org.