On October 26 and 27, PBHA welcomed back its alumni for the annual PBHA Alumni Weekend.
As in past years, the weekend was kicked off on Friday night with the Robert Coles “Call of Service” Lecture & Award. This year’s event was particularly inspiring, as we honored San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz as the 12th awardee and lecturer. Read more about it here.
Saturday’s events began with the annual PBHA-A General meeting, where new PBHA-A Board Directors at Large Lori Borgen ’91, Carol Losos ’88, and Angel Razon ’08 and President Elect Ayanna Johnson ’93 were formally introduced. Alumni also received updates about recent activity in PBHA and collectively brainstormed how to advocate for PBHA’s role in a shifting Harvard public service landscape.
Following the meeting, alumni, students, and staff braved the harsh weather to travel to the Harvard Kennedy School for the annual Alumni Luncheon. PBHA-A President Danielle Goatley ’14, PBHA Alumni & History Coordinator Connie Cai ’21, PBHA President Anwar Omeish ’19, and PBHA Class of 1955 Executive Director Maria Dominguez Gray offered remarks before Connie led alumni in a reflection about what it means to serve truth in service, a theme that tied together many of the weekend’s events.
Then, PBHA honored several alumni and supporters. Keylatch Founders Remigio “Remi” Cruz ’86 and Victoria Rivera-Cruz ’87 spoke about the early days of PBHA’s Keylatch programming, which began 35 years ago. PBHA Deputy Director Kate Johnsen ’02 then introduced former Keylatch director and Student Labor Action Movement volunteer José Olivarez, who received the first ever PBHA Author & Artist in Justice Award and performed poetry from his recently published collection Citizen Illegal.
Y2Y co-founder Sarah Rosenkrantz ’14 presented this year’s PBHA-A Outstanding Supporter Award to the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter Corporation, which has long provided fundraising and institutional support to PBHA’s Harvard Square Homeless Shelter (HSHS), which also marked its 35th anniversary this fall. HSHSC Board President Gail Bucher gave remarks and accepted the award alongside other members of the Board.
Finally, PBHA Vice President Jesper Ke ’19 and PBHA-A President Elect Ayanna Johnson ’93 presented this year’s Outstanding Alumnus award to Massachusetts State Representative Byron Rushing ’64. Rep. Rushing spoke about his experience with PBHA programs in college and over the course of his career, as well as the wisdom he has gained about activism and politics.
Following the luncheon, alumni from Keylatch and the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter went to respective 35th anniversary reunions. At the Blackstone Community Center, alumni and current students discussed the evolution of Keylatch before heading to Vejigantes for food and fellowship with parents and participants in the program. At University Lutheran Church, HSHS alumni and students gathered for a reflection and reception before the Opening Dinner with the broader HSHS community as the official beginning of the shelter’s season.
Thanks to everyone all of the PBHA alumni, staff, students, and community members who made this a very special Alumni Weekend!