To mark the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, Revolutionary Spaces is sponsoring a civic event to honor three Community Changemakers whose leadership in bringing people together in dialogue has built a shared sense of purpose to drive change. Through their efforts, these honorees organized and inspired people to take action to ensure their voices are heard and represented.
This gathering provides an opportunity to reflect on a less-remembered part of the Boston Tea Party story that can inspire participation in our democracy today: the weeks of community meetings that took place at Old South Meeting House after the first of the tea ships arrived on November 28, 1773. Through these gatherings, the community achieved a shared sense of purpose that led to a world-changing action: that the drastic action of destroying the tea was necessary to ensure that the Crown and Parliament understood the colonists’ commitment to the principle of representation.
The Legacy of the Tea Party: Honoring Community Changemakers will take place at Old South Meeting House on the evening of December 14, 2023, marking the 250th anniversary of the start of the final round of large-scale meetings at Old South Meeting House that culminated in the 5,000-person gathering on December 16, 1773 that preceded the destruction of the tea that night.
With an inspiring and uplifting atmosphere, this event will honor leaders who exemplify the same commitment to community dialogue, civic action, and representation that were also prerequisites for the American Revolution and founding principles of our nation. Their efforts also remind us that the work of creating and sustaining a free society remains unfinished, and that our collective future can and will be shaped by the strength and depth of our civic engagement. Each Community Changemaker has, in their unique way, turned words into action and exemplified the same courage of their convictions and the spirit of change demonstrated by the patriots of 1773.
This program is made possible by the generous support of The Lowell Institute.
RAHSAAN HALL is the President and CEO of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts. He leads the Urban League’s efforts to enable communities to overcome racial and social barriers that cause economic inequities and are exacerbated by sexual and domestic violence, by creating employment and economic development opportunities. Previously, Rahsaan served as the Director of the Racial Justice Program for the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts and prior to that Rahsaan was the Deputy Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice. He also served as an Assistant District Attorney for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office. Rahsaan also serves on the boards of the Who We Are Project and the Hyams Foundation and is an ordained reverend in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. Rahsaan is a highly sought-after public speaker and has received multiple awards and recognitions for his work, including Boston Magazine’s Top Lawyers 2021, Equal Justice Coalition’s 2019 Beacon of Justice Award, Get Connected‘s 2018 GK100 Boston’s Most Influential People of Color, and the Massachusetts Communities Action Network 2018 Carry It On Leadership Award.
ARLINE ISAACSON is a Co-Chair of the Massachusetts GLBTQ Political Caucus (formerly the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus), where she has lobbied on every major LGBTQ+ issue in Massachusetts. Arline advocated for the groundbreaking 1989 gay and lesbian civil rights bill and domestic-partnership benefits for Massachusetts public employees. Her fights have included LGBTQ+ parental rights, anti-bullying bills, hate crimes bills, transgender rights, HIV/AIDS legislation, and banning conversion therapy for minors. Arline also led the legislative battle for marriage equality, making Massachusetts the first state in the nation to defeat a marriage equality ban.
SEAN SIMONINI is the founder of the Massachusetts Association of Student Representatives (MASR), an organization that uplifts and empowers student representatives serving on local and state school boards across the Commonwealth. Sean saw firsthand how powerful student sentiment can be after serving on his own school committee during the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic and sought to establish a network that encourages students to be leaders in creating the change they want to see. He believes that students are essential partners in building better school environments and uniting communities around our common pursuit of a more accessible and impactful education system.
This event will be streamed live by the WGBH Forum Network. Click below to view on YouTube.