Guests of Honor
At our Inaugural Gala, Revolutionary Spaces invites you to come together in community to share in our vision to both preserve the past and uncover histories that can help us imagine a better future for the city and nation.
Doing so is not a solo effort. Together, we must reflect on our past while simultaneously looking toward the future. Revolutionary Spaces is pleased to announce our guests of honor, as both individuals have shown an incredible commitment to American history and democracy.
There will be two Honorees at the gala. One Honoree is well connected to Revolutionary Spaces’ past and future, and the other is a champion of democracy and growth, creating their own revolutionary space.
Revolutionary Spaces’ 2022 Inaugural Gala Guests of Honor are The Honorable Byron Rushing and Professor Danielle Allen.
Byron Rushing is a former Board member for Old South Association and has been a longtime supporter and champion of both historic organizations. He has accepted to serve on the Revolutionary Spaces Council of Visitors and believes strongly in our current mission and initiatives.
Byron served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1983 to 2018. He came to the House with a background in community organizing and Afro-American history. In the legislature, Byron’s priorities were human and civil rights, and the development of democracy, local human, economic and housing development, and housing and health care for all. He has sponsored a host of legislation concerning public health, and against the restoration of the death penalty.
Byron was an original sponsor of the gay rights bill and the chief sponsor of the law to end discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in public schools. He was one of the leaders in the constitutional convention to maintain same sex marriage in Massachusetts. He successfully co-sponsored the transgender civil rights bills. His work in these areas of civil rights is the subject of the short film, “Marriage Equality: Byron Rushing and the Fight for Fairness”.
From 1972 to 1985, he was President of the Museum of Afro-American History. Under his direction, the Museum of Afro-American History purchased and began the restoration of the African Meeting House, the oldest extant black church building in the United States. In 1979, Byron oversaw the lobbying effort in Congress to establish the Boston African American National Historical Site, a component of the National Park Service. Byron led the Museum in the study of the history of Roxbury; the Museum conducted the archaeological investigation of the Southwest Corridor for the MBTA.
During the 1960’s he was active in the civil rights movement–working for CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) in Syracuse, NY, and as a community organizer for the Northern Student Movement in Boston. He directed a group of organizers, Roxbury Associates, who helped to found the Lower Roxbury Community Corporation, one of the first CDCs in the nation.
During all his time in Boston, Byron has worked for and with community-based organizations–for greater political participation and against neighborhood debilitation. He continues his work to increase the understanding of the history of poor and working class people and people of color.
Danielle Allen is a professor of public policy, politics, and ethics at Harvard University, Director of the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Ethics, and James Bryant Conant University Professor, one of Harvard’s highest honors. She is also a seasoned nonprofit leader, democracy advocate, national voice on pandemic response, distinguished author, and mom. Danielle’s work to make the world better for young people has taken her from teaching college and leading a $60 million university division to driving change at the helm of a $6 billion foundation, writing for the Washington Post, advocating for cannabis legalization, democracy reform, and civic education, and most recently, to running for governor of Massachusetts. During the height of COVID in 2020, Danielle’s leadership in rallying coalitions and building solutions resulted in the country’s first-ever Roadmap to Pandemic Resilience; her policies were adopted in federal legislation and a Biden executive order. Danielle made history as the first Black woman ever to run for statewide office in Massachusetts. She continues to advocate for democracy reform to create greater voice and access in our democracy, and drive progress towards a new social contract that serves and includes us all. Her many books include the widely acclaimed Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality and Cuz: The Life and Times of Michael A.