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Michael Curry to be keynote speaker at Juneteenth Woburn 2022

Published by Phil Gordon on

Social Capital Inc. (SCI), Mayor Scott Galvin and the City of Woburn, the Woburn Public Library, Woburn Welcomes, and St. John’s Baptist Church are hosting the 2nd annual celebration of Juneteenth in partnership with the Woburn Dept. of Public Works and the Woburn Police Department, with support from Beth Israel Lahey Health Winchester Hospital, the NAACP Mystic Valley Area Branch, the Woburn Democratic City Committee, State Representative Richard Haggerty, State Representative Michelle Ciccolo, the Network For Social Justice, and Kadanse Studios. 

The Juneteenth Woburn 2022 celebration will take place in the back parking lot at the Woburn Public Library on Saturday, June 18th, 2022, from 1:00pm – 4:00pm.

The Juneteenth Woburn Planning Committee is honored to host Michael Curry as the keynote speaker for the event. Mr. Curry is the President & CEO of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, and also currently serves as a Board Member on the National NAACP Board of Directors. For more information about Mr. Curry please read his bio below and please join us at Juneteenth Woburn 2022 to hear his remarks!

Michael Curry – Bio

Born and raised by a single mother in Lenox Street Housing Projects and a product of the Boston Public Schools, Michael’s life experiences provided the motivation for his over 30 years of work in civil rights. From his leadership of the Black Student Union on the campus of Macalester College in St. Paul, MN in 1989, where he successfully led an effort with the Dean of Admissions to recruit more students of color, to his return to Roxbury in 1992 to lead the Million Man March Mobilization Committee (1995), he has embodied the W.E.B. DuBois quote, “Nothing can be solved that can’t be faced.” He was recruited in 1997 to join the Boston NAACP’s leadership team, where he led Communications and Political Action, and was often designated by the President to serve as the official spokesperson on high-profile issues.

In November 2010, Michael Curry was elected President of the Boston NAACP, the nation’s first chartered branch, established in 1911. The election was the highest turnout of voters in the branch’s history with over 600 members. During Mr. Curry’s tenure, more than 7,000 new members joined the branch, monthly membership meetings were at capacity and a younger generation of leaders became active in the organization. He successfully executed a strategy to strengthen the influence and voice of the NAACP in the Greater Boston area by rebuilding partnerships and reengaging city officials. Described by the Boston Business Journal as a “Straight Talker”, Michael focused intently in the area of diversity and urged the public and private sector to wipe out the taint of race, and to finally embrace a more diverse workforce. Under his leadership, the branch launched an annual discrimination training, in collaboration with several investigative and enforcement agencies. In 2013, the Boston NAACP received the Chairman’s Trophy for the highest membership increase in the country (2011-2012) and the Lucille Black Award for the highest total membership production (2012). Attorney Curry was elected President in 2010, 2012 and 2014, serving three terms.

In 2013, then National NAACP Chairman Roslyn Brock asked Michael to consider running for the National NAACP Board of Directors, as an at-large candidate. Chairman Brock said, “Mr. Curry represents the next generation of NAACP leadership that will continue to advance our (then) 105-year-old association in this fight for social justice.” He was soon after elected by the over 2,200 NAACP Units, representing over 500,000 members, across the country to serve on the National NAACP’s Board of Directors, and reelected in 2016 and 2019. At his election in 2014, Michael was the first representative from the Boston and New England Area to serve on the National Board in over 35 years. 

Michael also serves as President & CEO for the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, a statewide Primary Care Association that serves 52 community health centers throughout Mass, serving over 1 million patients out of over 300 practice sites. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, Michael has spearheaded the statewide response of the Mass League on behalf of its members, and centered “equity” in every conversation. In his previous role as Deputy CEO, and prior Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy (GAPP), Michael led local, state and federal affairs and public policy. Based on his work, he has been recognized locally and nationally for his leadership in health care policy and frequently requested as a panelist on the issue of state and national health reform. In 2022, Michael will also launch the first of its kind “Health Equity and Social Justice Research and Policy Institute” at the Mass League, funded by $1.5 million from Mass General Brigham and $5 million from the Massachusetts Legislature. The Institute will lead to greater “participatory” and “emancipatory” research in communities of color.

Michael credits his accomplishments to having a strong, Black mother from Greensboro, Alabama, who grounded him in his Christian faith at Ebenezer Baptist Church and Charles Street A.M.E. Church. In addition, he recognizes his education at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he served as President as the Black Liberation Affairs Committee as a turning point in his life. “It was on that campus that I met Professor Mahmoud El-Kati, who introduced all of us to history, and instilled in us a sense of pride and purpose that continues to drive me today. I know why I’m here, thanks to him.”

He is a frequent Political Commentator on WBUR’s Radio Boston, Morning Edition and Week in Review, Boston Public Radio WGBH with Jim Braude and Margery Eagan, WGBH’s Greater Boston, and New England Cable News, as well as frequently requested to provide reactions to breaking news, presidential and mayoral debates, and state of the union/city addresses.

Michael is currently working to finish two books in 2022. His first published work will deal with Mental Health in the Black Community, highlighting the unique challenges faced by African Americans with gaining access to high quality, culturally competent behavioral health and substance use services. The book underscores the generational impact of racism and untreated trauma that is manifested in urban violence, chronic unemployment, achievement gaps, addictions and poverty. The second book provides his reflections as a civil rights activist out of Generation X, following the sacrifice and service of the Freedom Fighters of the Modern Civil Rights Movement. He explores the politics, internal (inter and intra-racial) battles, ideological divides and generational conflicts that often prevent unity and diminish the potential effectiveness of the advocacy—then and now.