In The Spotlight


At the start of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, LIVING LEGEND AWARDS were given out at BRCPS to local Boston figures who, in the tradition of Dr. King, have demonstrated exceptional service to their communities.

Recipients included Boston’s own leading civil rights figure Beatrice Busby (Lifetime Acheivement Award), Barry Sloane CEO & President of Century Bank, Farrah Assiraj, Founder of Peregrinum, Malkia Kendricks, Co-founder/Director of Women Connecting Affecting Change, Naheem Garcia, Actor/Educator, and BRCPS’ very own art teacher, MR. PRO (John Provenzano)!  (See below for full recipient bios.)

THANK YOU to all the recipients for all your dedication to your fellow citizens, and for being such wonderful role models for our scholars who got to hear from you at the ceremony!



Beatrice Busby has been working to effect positive change in Boston for more years than most people have been alive. At 101, she can look back to the 1950s to see how her efforts helped transform the hiring policies of Boston’s hospitals and department stores to include women of color. At 101, she continues to look forward to her tireless work with the Women’s Service Club of Boston and her beloved People’s Baptist Church. Making someone else’s life more comfortable has always given Beatrice a sense of joy and accomplishment. And she has more accomplishments to her credit than candles on her birthday cake. In addition to her volunteer work with ABCD – begun at the side of Melnea Cass, a community and civil rights leader and ABCD co-founder – the Women’s Service Club of Boston, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, the Paralyzed Veterans of America, the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of Middlesex County, and the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research have all benefited from Beatrice’s efforts. Back in 1924, her mother taught her that serving others was a gift from God. Beatrice began creating positive change because there was a need to serve and a need to speak out against injustice. She says it has been wonderful to see laws change and people’s attitudes change. She remains inspired by her strong faith and belief in God. Beatrice loves people and cherishes the relationships that she makes with everyone she knows. As Beatrice says, “Doesn’t everyone feel good when they help someone?”


Barry R. Sloane has been the Chief Executive Officer and President at Century Bancorp. Inc. and its subsidiary, Century Bank And Trust Company (Somerville, MA) since May 11, 2010. Mr. Sloane served as a Co-President and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Century Bancorp, Inc. since April 15, 2005 until May 11, 2010. He served as Co-President and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Century Bank since April 15, 2005 until May 11, 2010. From April 2004 to April 2005, Mr. Sloane served as Executive Vice President and Co-Chief Operating Officer for Century Bank and Century Bancorp, Inc. From October 2001 to March 2004, he served as a Managing Director of Steinberg, Priest and Sloane Capital Management, LLC. He was Region Head for the Southeastern United States for the Citigroup Private Bank and Head of North America for Credit Suisse Private Banking. He has been a Director of Century BanCorp. Inc. and of Century Bank & Trust Company (Somerville, MA) since 1997. Mr. Sloane served as an Independent Director at BGC Partners, Inc. from September 27, 2006 to June 4, 2013. Mr. Sloane is Treasurer of the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation at Rockefeller University. Mr. Sloane is a Director of the American Skin Association and a Member of the Dean’s Council of the JF Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He is a Trustee of the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation and the USS Intrepid Museum Foundation. He is Trustee Emeritus of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He serves as a Trustee of Hebrew SeniorLife, The General Hospital Corporation (Massachusetts General Hospital) and the Savings Bank Employees Retirement System Association (SBERA). He is a Member of the Corporation of Partners Healthcare System. He was awarded the Silver Beaver by the Boston Council, Boy Scouts of America, in 2007. He holds BA and MPA degrees from Harvard University.


Farah Assiraj founded Peregrinum to initiate support for issues that she felt passionate in pursuing on behalf of underserved and marginalized students. Farah’s urgency is to serve the need for educators, practitioners and community members to collaborate and further develop in their professional capacity to best serve families and students with an equity lens and quality education at the helm of her philosophy. Her mission is driven by her educational background as an immigrant, former ELL and undocumented student. Farah Assiraj is an English as a Second Language teacher for Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education and English Language Learners. She has served in senior district leadership and administrative roles primarily serving ELLs. She is an experienced teacher in early childhood, technology, reading, ELA, ESL, Parent/Family ESL, RETELL and has taught in catholic, public and charter schools across grades PK-12. Being of service to all student populations in urban schools, Farah’s reflective practice and urgency for the most underserved students is at the heart of her work with a core mission of a quality education. Farah was awarded the prestigious Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching and has developed resources internationally and nationally for teachers. Additionally, she continues to serve on national projects focused on increasing rigor for ELLs, provides guidance on national curriculum development, scaffolding tools for learners, instructional materials, program evaluation and facilitates professional development across the country. As a contributing author of the national Benchmark Education Common Core ELA and ELD K-6 core material program and leveled readers for secondary students, she seeks to impact quality materials thus instruction and outcomes for the most marginalized students in all classrooms. Farah graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in Sociology and awarded “Outstanding Student of the Year” from the University of N. Florida. She holds a certificate in North African Economic Development and Arabic from University of Al-Akhawayn, Morocco and a Master’s in Teaching-ESL from Simmons College. Farah has served on the National Council of Great City Schools ELL committee; MATSOL Board of Directors; Massachusetts Board of Education ELL Council; American Association for Arab Women; and United Way Education Committee among other community organizations.


Naheem (Alexis R.) Garcia arrived from Havana, Cuba in 1968. He has been performing and teaching theatre for over 29 years and is very well known in New England for his outreach work using theatre as an educational tool. He began his professional career with Boston Youth Theatre and has continued to act, direct and teach with local theatre companies such as: The Huntington Theatre Company, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Company One Performing Arts Theatre, First Night Boston and Moakley Public Speaking Program at the Kennedy Library. In 2016-2017 he was formally the Coordinator for Student Leadership and Culture in the Student Support Department at the Conservatory Lab Charter School in Dorchester Massachusetts. Naheem is the recipient of Origination 2007 Sojourner Truth Award, El Planeta, Powermeter 100 2014 Award. He completed the Aesthetic Education Immersion program with the Lincoln Center Summer Forum at Julliard and recently invited to LA, to represent Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corp. for the NeighborWorks America-NeighborWorks Community Leadership Institute. Naheem is a member of AFTRA and SAG and has been a working actor for many years in Hollywood and Independent Films. His Film credits include, Equalizer2 (Denzel Washington), Daddy’s Home2 (Mark Wahlberg, Will Ferrell, Mel Gibson, John Lithgow), Joy (Jennifer Lawrence), Black Mass (Johnny Depp), The Proposal (Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds), The Heat (Sandra Bullock/Melissa McCarthy) Lift (Kerry Washington), Maiden Heist (Morgan Freeman, Christopher Waken), Purge3 Election Year (Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, Mykelti Williamson) and SMLF (Frankie Shaw and Rosie O’Donnell). His national, International and local Commercial credits are, Subways, Dunkin Donuts and Visa. For the last four years Naheem has been an adjudicator for the Massachusetts Educational Theatre Guild. He has been the Director in residence for the New African Theatre Company and is currently preparing a one man show to tour the country and abroad.


Malkia Kendricks As one of the co-founders and current director of Women Connecting Affecting Change (WCAC), Malkia is an innovative and visionary leader who has forged collaboration with many organizations with comparable missions to provide essential services to women of color, particularly those who are at high risk for STIs, Hep C, and HIV infection. Her work has focused on Dorchester and surrounding neighborhoods, which are home to women who face significant heath challenges, including obstacles to economic survival. Malkia is certified as a substance abuse counselor, a Red Cross HIV/AIDS Instructor/Trainer, an Instructor/Teacher on issues facing African Americans, and a Communistic Instructor/Trainer. Her career focused on community education and mobilization about the HIV/STI epidemics. Malkia has extensive knowledge and experience within the counseling, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, and therapeutic assessment fields. She has developed various workshops and curricula, and is a frequent lecturer and holistic facilitator in these areas. Prior to working with WCAC – which was founded as a stand-alone organization but later merged with the Multicultural AIDS Coalition (MAC) – Malkia worked with the American Red Cross of Massachusetts Bay as an HIV/ AIDS coordinator where she supervised, trained, and managed AIDS education counselors and trainers across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Currently, Malkia is one of two Senor Program Directors at MAC, overseeing implementation of the goals, objectives, and budgets of two initiatives with broad reach: (a) the WCAC Community Center, which provides HIV/STI counseling and screening, substance use and harm reduction services, personal supports, and psychotherapeutic counseling to women of color and their partners – with a focus on connecting clients to medical care and mental health care; and (b) the MAC’s Psychosocial Peer Support programs, which are bilingual (English/Spanish) services reaching people living with HIV across the agency. Priority populations for these services are women of color, gay and bisexual men, Sub-Saharan African and other Black immigrants, transgender men and women, and people who inject drugs. Malkia plays a key role as on the senior management team in developing and implementing short and long term organizational strategies. Throughout her work, she maintains a commitment to self-care and to ensuring that her colleagues recognize its importance as well. Malkia earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Springfield College, and holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Simmons College. She also has a Certificate in Urban Leadership in Clinical Social Work from Simmons College. In addition to the plethora of awards, in January of 2011, she received the Brenda Butler Hamlett Community Service Award from the Boston Alumnae Chapter. In March 2011, she received an award from The Commonwealth Massachusetts House of Representatives for recognition of her dedication to the health of women and girls infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS. Additional awards she has received include the GBOS Image Award, the Belynda Dunn Courage Award, and the Community Recognition Award.


John Provenzano was born in South Boston, Massachusetts, (USA). He received a scholarship to attend Boston University’s School for the Arts. While attending B.U., he was commissioned by Orion Pictures to paint fourteen paintings for the Hollywood production of “Mermaids.” Upon receiving his Master’s degree in Fine Arts, Mr. Provenzano was awarded the Esther B. and Albert S. Kahn Career Entry Award. The award allowed Mr. Provenzano to set up his first studio in South Boston. Mr. Provenzano worked and studied with sculptor, John Wilson, who is most known for his sculpture of Martin Luther King Jr. on display in the rotunda in the Capitol building. Mr. Provenzano is co-founder of the First Street Collaborative, bringing together local visual artists and musicians for several shows throughout the year at his studio. Mr. Provenzano’s work has been used by designer, Dennis Duffy. He was included in the “Emerging Artist” and “Metal and Canvas” exhibits at the Judi Rotenberg Gallery in Boston, MA. Since 2013, his work has been exhibited at the Danforth Art Museum in Framingham, MA. Mr. Provenzano lives in Dorchester, teaches art at Boston Renaissance Charter Public School, and works out of his studio in South Boston, MA. Boston’s own John Provenzano ( His art integrates a mix of images, symbols, patterns and text into highly energetic and powerful paintings. Provenzano paints richly colored canvases and finds inspiration in music. His paintings are in numerous collections and can be seen in galleries along the East Coast. Mr. Provenzano work has appeared on Channel 7 and Fox 25 News when Julianna and Manny Ramirez were featured. Interior designers, including noted designer, Dennis Duffy, have either used Mr. Provenzano’s paintings or commissioned work for their clients. In 2005, he was included in the “Director’s Pick” exhibition at the Judi Rotenberg Gallery in Boston. Recently, he has exhibited his work at the “First Street Collaborative” in South Boston, MA. Mr. Provenzano’s work can also be seen in the movie “Mermaids.” Danforth Art Museum/School exhibited Mr. Provenzano’s painting titled, “Profiled” in the Community of Artists exhibit that viewed the summer of 2013. The painting is from Mr. Provenzano’s series, featuring a series of paintings layered with images containing references to the government, war, race, religion and the text and symbols of daily life, such as Twitter and Facebook messages, caution tape, bar codes and even song lyrics. Mr. Provenzano lives in Dorchester, MA, teaches art at Boston Renaissance Charter Public School and paints out of his studio in South Boston.

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