What’s Your Story? Busing and School Desegregation in Boston

Posted: January 15, 2013 by Donna Bivens in Uncategorized

The current phase of the Boston Busing/Desegregation Project is all about collecting stories both one-on-one and in a variety of group storytelling methods. We will be using interviews, popular education techniques, story circles and a number of other methods including old-fashioned community meeting to continue our truth-seeking process. On January 24 at Brighton-Allston Congregational Church  (register) and on March 7 at the Mission Main Community Center (register) we will pilot story circles that will link our individual stories with our collective struggle for excellence, equity and access in the public school system and the city. We hope all in the BBDP and the larger UMN community will attend and spread the word especially–but not exclusively–to those living now or during the desegregation years in these neighborhoods. W e especially encourage those who might be interested in facilitating circles to come to these two story circles. A schedule of others will be shared shortly.

Later in the year, we will have structured  intra-racial group explorations of the class and culture tensions that we must address to come to a collective understanding of our similarities and differences. These will include a diversity from each group–African, Asian, European and Latino–who want to take leadership in figuring our together how to  take  this discussion out into the many cultural groups/nationalities that make up these broad racial groups. We will look at each group’s specific historical struggles to

  • seek race and class equity to free their lives
  • Gain genuine access to resources and decision-making power that determine the quality of their lives
  • Demand excellence from systems and institutions that shape their lives.

Hopefully, this work together will take us another step towards BBPD’s goals:


  1. Greater awareness of a more inclusive story about our past: the history that led to and followed Boston’s busing/desegregation crisis. This is shaped by previously excluded or marginalized voices and highlights the trauma and impact of the era that continues to exist in the city. It also includes public acknowledgement of an inclusive history.
  1.  A more inclusive history informs decision making today: about race and class equity, democratic access, and achieving excellence in the city and institutions that impact it. This includes making sure that lessons from history about these issues are considered as Boston re-vamps its school assignment process and designs and implements other reforms. This also includes raising awareness about the influence of larger political forces, such as corporate interests, impacting excellence, equity, and access today in public education, our city, and our society.
  1. A shared vision and action steps across difference to increase race and class equity, democratic access, and higher quality institutions. This includes a list of recommendations and action steps for moving forward, developed in collaboration with community partners and informed by our past, our present, and the future we want — for public education, our families, our communities, and Boston.

And contributing to:

Individual and collective learning, leadership, action, and advocacy across difference for policy, institutional, and community change to achieve the shared vision and priorities that emerge from working together to achieve equity, access, and excellence for all.

Please come and spread the word!

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