2016 Drylongso Awards


Greetings Friends and Community Members,

Community Change Inc. works tirelessly to challenge structural racism. This year's Drylongso Awards provides a unique opportunity for our community to come together to celebrate the work we all do. The celebration of ordinary people who do extraordinary work has been a part of CCI since 1989.

 The CCI Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates those who have been and continue to be at the forefront of this work and whose efforts have made a significant impact on issues surrounding structural racism. The leadership award honors the work of individuals within three categories, each appropriately recognized with its own award. 

Drylongso Award

"Ordinary people doing extraordinary work against racism"

Established in 1989, the Drylongso Awards honor ordinary people doing extraordinary anti-racism work in Greater Boston. The Drylongso Awards are inspired by the book Drylongso: A Self-Portrait of Black America. In that book, anthropologist John Langston Gwaltney details the daily struggles of Drylongso, or ordinary African Americans fighting racism.

2016 Drylongso Recipients

unnamed (4)Debby Irving brings to racial justice the perspective of working as a community organizer and classroom teacher for 25 years without initially understanding racism as a systemic issue or her own whiteness as an obstacle to grappling with it. As general manager of Boston's Dance Umbrella and First Night, and later as a classroom teacher in Cambridge, Mass., she struggled to make sense of tensions she could feel but not explain in racially mixed settings. In 2009, a graduate school course, Racial and Cultural Identities, gave her the answers she'd been looking for and launched her on a journey of discovery. Debby now devotes herself to working with white people exploring the impact white skin can have on perception, problem solving, and engaging in racial justice work. A graduate of the Winsor School in Boston, she holds a BA from Kenyon College and an MBA from Simmons College. Her first book, Waking Up White, tells the story of how she went from well-meaning to well-doing. This book has been a great awakening for many well-meaning white people and has quickly become a valuable tool in moving white people from well-meaning to well-doing.

unnamed (3)Stewart Lanier has over 20 years of experience supporting and guiding nonprofit organizations through developmental and transformational change. He has made an impact in a variety of nonprofit sectors including community organizing, domestic violence, faith-based, healthcare, youth development, state government, and networks/coalitions. Stewart has a special interest in guiding nonprofits through executive and organizational transitions, and has served as interim executive in nine organizations, including director and deputy director positions. A native of Arkansas and raised in Georgia and Florida, he is committed to lifelong learning about privilege, supporting race equity in nonprofit consulting and leadership, and raising awareness of racism in predominately white communities. He is a facilitator of the White People Challenging Racism course offered by Community Change Inc. An ordained clergyperson in the United Methodist Church, he began his professional career as a pastor. Stewart recently received a certificate in spiritual direction with a concentration in small group circle processes. In addition to holding a M.Div. from Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Stewart received experiential training in racial inclusion and whole systems processes from American University, earning an MS with distinction in Organizational Development.

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2016 Emerging Leaders

Black Lives Matter Cambridge is part of the movement to end structural racism both locally, nationally, and internationally. The many members include DiDi Delgado and Mariamawit Gashaw.

DiDi Delgado is a writer, activist, freelance journalist, and poet.  Currently an organizer of Black Lives Matter Cambridge, she has served on the leadership team for the ACLU's BCPA Committee, and the Boston Branch of the NAACP's Young Adult Committee. Deeply passionate about both herlocal and global community, she believes that poetry and activism go hand-in-hand.

Mariamawit "Mari" Gashaw is a youth organizer from the Cambridge area. She first started organizing around human rights violations happening in her home country of Ethiopia at the age of 6. She then grew a passion for educational equity and fought several battles against the Cambridge School Committee. She currently serves as a Student Representative to the School Committee, a Youth Representative of the Family Policy Council, a mentee in a Phillips Brooks House program, and serves many other community roles. Mari has been an organizer with BLM Cambridge since January of 2015 and leads the housing and education initiatives. She also was one of the four arrested for chaining themselves to City Hall.

Lori Hurlebaus is a queer, white, working-class, feminist, abolitionist from Boston's Dorchester neighborhood. She has organized across social movements (in particular supporting resistance within the ranks of the U.S. military to imperialism,war, and militarization) for over 15 years. Inspired, learning, and taking leadership from popular struggles for self-determination, she grounds herself in the visions of freedom and liberation these movements offer us. Lori's current work focuses on organizing white anti-racist resistance to displacement and gentrification in the Boston area and is an active member of Showing up for Racial Justice - Boston.

Lifetime Achievement 

unnamed (1)For more than twenty-five years, Lydia Lowe has been part of building the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA), a grassroots organization that works for full equality and empowerment of the Chinese community in Greater Boston and beyond. CPA works to raise the living and working standards of Chinese Americans and to involve ordinary community members in decision-making. During her tenure, Lydia has co-founded CPA's Workers Center for immigrant workers to organize for their rights, secured bilingual job training for displaced garment and electronic workers, helped tenants preserve more than a thousand units of affordable housing, and secured bilingual ballots for Chinese and Vietnamese speaking voters in the City of Boston. Lydia is a founding member of the Chinatown Master Plan Committee, the Immigrant Worker Center Collaborative, and Right to the City Boston. She also currently supports an effort to build a Chinatown Community Land Trust. Lydia received a Drylongso Award in 1996 but due to her lifetime work, she is being honored with a Lifetime Achievement award as she exemplifies a lifetime commitment to justice.

Please join Community Change for the presentation of the 2016 Community Change Antiracism Leadership Awards. 

unnamedWe will be joined by special guest, David Billings. David Billings is an educator, organizer, and historian who has worked for half a century in the struggle for racial justice. His just-published book, Deep Denial: The Persistence of White Supremacy in United States History and Life, which is part popular history, part personal memoir, documents the 400-year racialization of the United States and how people of European descent came to be called "white." David will be sharing insights from his book.

We hope that you will join us on Friday, November 18th.

Event Details

When: Friday, November 18, 2016. Doors open at 6:00pm, awards start at 7:00pm.
Where: Bruce Bolling Building
2300 Washington Street, Roxbury
Cost: $50 per person, which includes hors d'oeuvres. A cash bar will be available

Tickets available for 2016 are available online.

Scholarships are available for those in need; no one will be turned away.