The Irish community engages in discussions on Black Lives Matter

On June 19, the Rian Immigrant Center partnered with Boston Irish and Irish Network Boston to virtually host a vital community discussion on Black Lives Matter. The event was an opportunity for the Irish and Irish American community in Boston to engage and to reflect and explore ways to stand up and take an active role in dismantling systemic racism. We had a big response to this event, with 200 people joining us.  We received much feedback from attendees after the event, asking us to continue the conversation and to provide more tangible ways in which to instill this change at home, at work, and in the local community. Our organizations listened, and a follow up three-part webinar series was created!


This series focused on parenting, racism and anti-racism, advancing anti-racism in the workplace, and anti-racism work currently happening in Ireland. On Aug. 12, we kicked off the series with a session on Parenting, Racism, and Anti-Racism. We were joined by panelists Tanya Nixon-Silberg, Founder, Little Uprisings; Brian O’ Donovan, WGBH; Bill Forry, Editor/Publisher, Boston Irish; and Dawn Morrissey, Executive Director, Irish Film Festival, Boston. The session was facilitated by Lea Vugic, the Director of Wellness Services at Rian Immigrant Center. 

After a very open, honest and constructive discussion about parenting, racism, white privilege, and the challenges faced everyday by BIPOC children, Tanya closed out the event by providing a framework for parents to talk to their children about racism/anti-racism and provided strategies on having these tough conversations.  


On Sept. 10, we hosted the second event in the series which focused on Advancing Anti-Racism in the workplace. Once again, we were joined by an amazing group of panelists, Kathryn Horgan, Chief of Human Resources and Corporate Citizenship Officer, State Street Corporation; John Donohue, President and CEO, Arbella Insurance Group; John Clogan, Senior Project Manager, Irish Construction Network, Faithful+Gould; and Dr. Christal Morris, Founder, CLM and Associates. Nancy Joyce, US Head PDT Global, and Rian Board Member facilitated the session. During this session, our insightful panelists explored racial injustice in the U.S and provided concrete strategies and policies for promoting anti-racism in the workplace.


On Sept. 16, we wrapped up the series with a session on: Anti-Racism Work in Ireland. We were joined by panelists Lorraine Maher, Founder, IamIrish; Michaela Rafferty, Community Youth Worker, Belfast/London; and Shane O’ Curry, Director, INAR (Irish Network Against Racism). The event was facilitated by Ryan McCollum, Advisory Board Member, Rian Immigrant Center.


Over 500 people joined us over this three-part webinar series. The Rian Immigrant Center, Boston Irish, and Irish Network Boston are committed to continuing anti-racism work and to engaging the Irish community in reflection and activism to disrupt racist policies. Thank you to all our wonderful panelists for taking the time to join and contribute to these vital and timely conversations, to all our individual event facilitators, and to our community for tuning in and engaging in this dialogue. If you missed these conversations, you can watch the recordings here: