This past Sunday marked Keylatch Summer Program’s annual Mel King Brunch. Keylatch’s Mel King Brunch is more than the camp’s annual fundraiser. It is also the camp’s homage to one of Boston’s civil rights heroes and a chance for members of the Keylatch family to reconnect.
Mel King is one of Boston’s, and in particular the South End’s, biggest civil rights leaders. In the late 1960s, King organized protests for affordable housing in the South End. In addition, he was the first African-American to run for mayor of Boston. He also served in the Massachusetts state legislature for 11 years. Currently King oversees the South End Tech Center.
Keylatch directors Nick Cashion and Diana Acosta, along with their senior and junior counselors, hosted the event in Mel King’s South End home. Some of the brunch’s guest included state representatives Will Brownsberger and Byron Rushing, who was King’s successor.
During the brunch, junior counselor Jazmin Guzman talked about her seven years with Keylatch as a camper, volunteer, and junior counselor, saying, “Keylatch has made me into a leader.” She went on to talk about how she hopes to continue her involvement and one day become a director.
Former Keylatch senior counselor and current Leaders director, Janae Hughes said Keylatch has taught her a lot and pushed her to continue her social justice work.
Cashion and Acosta both shared their personal stories of what it means to be in the presence of King and part of Keylatch. Both emphasized the legacy of Keylatch’s work and the importance of community. Cashion hopes to pass forward the love of learning his school teacher mother instilled in him to his eighty campers. Acosta shared that Keylatch was the community and support network she wished she had growing up in an immigrant community in Washington, DC.
King rallied the guests in his home to give what they could to Keylatch as Keylatch has given to so many children and their families over the last thirty-three years.
If you would like to support Keylatch Summer Program in honor of Mel King, please visit pbha.org/donate and select ‘Keylatch Summer Program’ from the drop-down menu.