Nubian Square with Cindy Diggs
Cindy Diggs, Roxbury native, fervent local activist, and Boston’s “Mother Hip Hop” has been a fixture in Roxbury. In the 90s she started Us Making Moves Forever, an organization dedicated to fostering peace and education in the streets by calling for local rappers to use their street cred for philanthropy. Her organization brought iconic hip hop legends like Jam Master Jay of the Run DMC and Wendy Day, Founder of the Rap Coalition, to speak with local youth and in doing so helped curb violence and uplift youth. She then went on to found the Hip Hop 4 Health Campaign aimed at connecting Boston’s youth with their school health centers. Her project went on to win an American Public Health Association Award. She then went on to found a T-shirt line which supported the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute, which supported victims of homicide which quickly expanded to the Peace Boston and Peace Collaborative organizations whose mission was to stop violence in the streets of Boston. In 2007, she introduced her Peace Boston radio show on Touch 106.1 FM.
Her amazing story and work has been commemorated in the stage play, “Hip Hop 9.1.1. Black Spots On My Soul”. In 2018 she released “Boston’s Hip-Hop Community Presents: Peace in the Streets” with executive producer Big CEO Red of Team 220 Records which featured New England’s top hip-hop and R&B artists calling for peace and solidarity. Proceeds from this album went to support families of victims of homicide.
Following COVID-19, Cindy organized multiple MGH Black-Owned Business Walking Tours and “Cruises” in support of local Black-owned businesses and those that support Nubian Square, Roxbury. These tours, in collaboration with the MGH Center for Diversity and Inclusion and the MGH Office of Equity and Inclusion, gave MGH staff the opportunity to explore some of the many restaurants, boutiques, and shops that call Nubian Square home. Similarly, each tour included discussion with local activists and community organizations including:
o “The Elephant in the Room”: A Discussion with Rock Against Racism (RAR):
RAR was created to address the Bussing Era in Boston using Hip Hop as a tool to engage the youth. Speakers are Reebee Garofolo, founding member of RAR; former UMass Boston professor, Queen Vivian (crew manager); Smidi Waters, who was one of the break dancers; and Pacey Foster, UMass Boston professor, founder of the UMass Boston Hip Hop Archive.
o Youth Mental Health & The Return to School convened by City Councilor At Large, Julia Mejia:
A conversation with LaTrelle Pinckney Chase, Cooperative Education Coordinator at Madison Park High School (she places students in internships); DJ Rock, LGBTQ+ Student Support Manager for the Boston Public School District; and Yahaira Lopez, Founder of Autism Sprinter and parent. They will discuss the impact of school being closed last school year and now reopened.
Dudley Café Essential Workers Program (Roxbury, MA)
While Dudley Café was only opened in 2015, it has become a touchstone for the Roxbury community.
More than a restaurant, Dudley Café fosters arts, music, and youth empowerment, partnering with local organizations, including the high schools, and supplying their ingredients from local businesses.
During the spring of 2020, during the first wave of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, numerous groups came out to support doctors, nurses, and clinical staff with meal donations. Through some of the darkest times in recent memory, these donations served as a connection to the communities we serve and kept us going.
With cases rising, prolonged economic turmoil, and disproportionate health and economic hardship affecting our communities of color many are looking for ways to support local organizations and communities in need.
The Save Dudley Café & Protect Essential Workers Project aims to essential workers across Boston (including healthcare workers, emergency personnel, first responders, delivery drivers, package handlers, grocery & convenience store employees). A donation will help feed an essential work while supporting a locally-owned business which has been dedicated to supporting the Roxbury community.
Final Touch With Class Boutique (Roxbury, MA)
Owned and operated by the Hardaway family father, mother, and son trio, Final Touch With Class has supported the fashion needs of the Roxbury community. Both activist as much as shopkeepers, they work hard to provide the same services and attention to detail is expected of even the most expensive boutiques; however, their products start at $45.