RECAP: 13th Annual Coles “Call of Service” Lecture & Award / Alumni Weekend

On Friday, November 1, 2019,  PBHA honored Cristina Jiménez, the Co-Founder & Executive Director of United We Dream (UWD), at the 13th Annual Robert Coles “Call of Service” Lecture & Award at First Parish Church in Cambridge. Ms. Jiménez, a MacArthur Fellow and member of TIME’s 2018 Top 100, was honored for her leadership of UWD, the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the country with over 400,000 members, and for her advocacy for immigrant, youth, education, and LGBTQ rights.

In her Robert Coles “Call of service” Lecture, Ms. Jiménez called on all of us to take action. She reminded the audience that our stories are powerful, but that we must turn them into action. She drove home the point that we are all interconnected.

“We must understand that our struggles are linked and so is the liberation for our communities”.


Ms. Jiménez had the crowd on its feet by the end of her lecture. She called on all of us to take action in our own communities. We are so grateful to Cristina for joining us and inspiring us all!

Before the Coles “Call of Service” Lecture & Award, Cristina Jiménez joined a community roundtable of students, activists, and community leaders to share their common experiences and their work in Cambridge, Boston, and beyond. PBHA was proud to host representatives from the 46 organizations that co-sponsored the Coles Lecture.

PBHA’s annual Alumni Weekend continued Saturday morning with the annual PBHA Alumni Association (PBHA-A) General Meeting, led by PBHA-A President Richard Kelley ’10 and President-Elect Ayanna Johnson ’93. Alumni at the meeting received updates about new PBHA initiatives and thought about PBHA’s role into the future as a force for student-led, community-based public service at Harvard and in Cambridge and Boston.

PBHA-A General Meeting, led by PBHA-A President Richard Kelley ’10 (second from right) and President-Elect Ayanna Johnson ’93 (right)

Following the PBHA-A Meeting, all alumni joined us for the PBHA Alumni Luncheon & Awards at the brand-new Smith Campus Center in Harvard Square. We were proud to honor the work of two alumni: PBHA-A board member Silchen Lee ’89 was presented with the Outstanding Supporter award, and president of the Boston Teachers Union Jessica Tang ’04 was presented with the Outstanding Alum award.

In the afternoon, alumni from all years of PBHA’s Boston Refugee Youth Enrichment (BRYE) program gathered at the Epiphany School in Dorchester to share their memories and stories of more than 30 years of BRYE. Since its founding in 1987, BRYE has served more than 4,000 recent immigrant youth in Boston, and resulted in five BRYE marriages! It was wonderful to hear those involved in the earliest days of BRYE share their common experiences with current junior counselors in the program right now!

See more photos of the weekend HERE