Labor of Love

As we close out the celebration of Black History Month here in the United States, and at SICI, I’m left with a deep sense of appreciation for the many people in our community doing innovative work to shine a light on Black history, Black excellence, and a not-so-distant future where Black communities thrive. Some examples are in the community spotlight below.

I also am left moved by the acts of generosity I witnessed very busy people undertake to support the cause. Just a few examples:

Former Governor Deval Patrick, now a faculty colleague here at HKS, showed up for an impromptu lunch –  with just 12 hours notice – to meet with leaders from the Southern U.S. who are organizing and investing in Black women and girls.

Carmita Semaan, Founder of the Surge Institute, joined an executive education session remotely from the west coast in the early morning hours to share her model and offer her network to other Black female leaders. 

Claude Grunitzky, CEO and Managing Partner of the Equity Alliance, and former Beck Visiting Social Innovator at SICI, agreed to participate in a fireside chat about how he builds relationships that enable his vision for social impact and equity.

It is not lost on me that each of these kindnesses – what many call a labor of love – are examples of the “invisible” labor that characterizes so much social change work. My hope is that each of us can take the time to acknowledge people who give their time in this way. They do it without expectation of compensation or praise, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get any!

If there is an unsung hero in your midst, what is one thing you can do to acknowledge their impact? Your actions may just help sustain theirs.

Together with you,

Brittany Butler
Executive Director, SICI 
Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy, HKS 

Community Spotlight

  • Keona J. Wynne is a 2022 Cheng Fellow and the founder of CommUnity Cares, a social venture focused on innovative solutions to meet the health needs of underserved communities by embracing positive health, culture, entertainment, education, and access. Read more here
  • Farayi Chipungu is an Adjunct Lecturer at HKS and a new faculty affiliate at SICI. She teaches in our Power, Innovation, and Leadership executive education program as well as leadership courses at both HKS and HLS.
  • Judy Touzin is a 2021 Cheng Fellow and founder of the The ExceptionalAL Project – an extension of the book ExceptionAL: Black Men Leading, Living, and Loving. Her work focuses on leveraging the power of partnerships and media to redefine the Black male image.
  • GirlTrek, co-founded by BeckVSIs, T.Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison, is the largest public health non-profit movement for Black women and girls in the U.S.