The Lieutenant Kenney Spirit Award is presented in memory of the life and service of Lieutenant John Kenney. Lieutenant Kenny joined the Cambridge Police Department in 1983. He displayed the highest dedication and commitment to the safety and prosperity of the Area IV in Cambridge. His devotion to public service was demonstrated in a variety of ways, including acting as Neighborhood Lieutenant through the Neighborhood Sergeants Program, where he provided the highest quality of Police service to impact crime.
John Kenney was intensely devoted to the mission of the Margaret Fuller House. He was a Member of the Board of Directors and a frequent visitor to the House. He attended large and small community events and potluck dinners, spending time in Area IV talking with residents of all ages.
Lieutenant Kenney died on March 23, 2006 after spending twenty two and a half years as an officer in the Cambridge Police Department, devoting his life to the betterment of our community. His partners and comrades were devoted friends and colleagues who supported John in his life and work. The MFNH is proud to celebrate his life and honor his work and memory by presenting the Lieutenant Kenney Spirit Award.
This award is given annually to a Cambridge resident who most embodies the spirit, values and devotion to the Community that John Kenney gave to Area IV, the MFNH and Cambridge.
Richard Goldberg and Nancy Seymour are our 2012 award recipients. Check back for more information about their wonderful support to Area IV and the Margaret Fuller House.
Kenneth E. Reeves was born and brought up in Detroit, Michigan. He attended the legendary Cass Technical High School, and graduated a year after Detroit’s Turbulent 1967 Riots. He attended Harvard College and graduated cum laude at 1972. He was awarded the Michael Clark Rockefeller Fellowship for travel, and study in Benin, West Africa. He later attended the University if Michigan Law School. As part of his law school course work he studied social welfare policy at Arbetsformedlingen in Stockroom, Sweden. He attended M.I.T. on a Fellowship in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning. After law school, he worked for the National Consumer Law Center in Boston, doing utility, banking, and insurance industry rate regulation. He later served as the managing attorney of the General Motor United Auto Workers Legal Plan in Massachusetts. He also served as a principal in the Cambridge Base Law Firm of Singleton, Reeves, Bowsger and Huggins.
Since 1990, Ken has been elected as a Cambridge City Councillor every two years. He has served three terms as the mayor of Cambridge (1992-1993, 1994-1995, 2006-2007).Ken served as the frist African American Mayor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the first openly black gay mayor in the United States. While Mayor, he also served as the chair person of the Cambridge School Committee. Ken has led many initiatives in Cambridge ranging from advocate for affordable housing, human service programs focusing on children and families, economic development and improved public education. Ken has for many years been a champion for working families, civil rights issues, human rights issues and equality for gays, lesbians, bi-sexual and transgendered persons. He was a leader in bringing marriage equality to the citizens of Massachusetts. Ken is an elected official who has an enviable record of getting significant projects get done. During his tenure on the Cambridge City Councillor, the City of Cambridge has had a AAA bond rating, and has become a world renounced center of bio science research. Some of the projects Ken has seen to fruition are a new magnificent main library, a City wide Senior Center, new Police Communication Station, 5 youth and Community Centers, restoration of the War Memorial Pool and field house, and a 50 acre park on the site of the farmer city dump…
Ken has also been an innovator in crafting social programs which support citizens to achieve a better quality of life. Some of the programs he has imitated are the Cambridge Works Program (job assistance), Kids Councillor, Men’s Health Task Force, etc. He is currently working to implement a “Baby College” for people of 0-3 year’s olds, and an office of College Success to support Cambridge students to graduate from college. These two programs are adopted for the work of Geoffrey Canada and the Harlem Children Zone.
Ken has received numerous awards, and recognition, some are; NAACP Drum-Major for Justice Award, Boy Scots of American Award, African Methodist Episcopal church significant achievement Award, Absalom Jones Award, Click magazine award, and Massachusetts Black Attorney Award.
In 2010 we honored Renae Gray—an amazing Renaissance women from our Area IV Community. In the true spirit of Margaret Fuller, an early champion of women, Renae has been a life-long advocate for women and a champion against domestic violence.
Renae grew up in Portsmouth, Virginia and New Haven, Connecticut and has been a resident of Cambridge for over 30 years. She has been a community activist throughout her life with an emphasis on race, class, diversity and gender issues. Renae worked at Transition House, and Casa Myrna Vasquez—two organizations that support women facing domestic violence. At the Algebra Project she was a teacher and local parent. She initiated “Loves Herself Regardless”, a program of retreats, workshops and reflections for African American Women at the Women’s Theological Center. Through Visions Inc. she helped establish shelters and networks for battered women in South Africa and continues to consult internationally on all forms of oppression. Renae was a co-founder of the Boston Women’s Fund and served as the Executive Director of the Women’s Fund for five years. She has also led and consulted on diversity training for over twenty years.
Renae relates that “My run for Cambridge City Council was a good experience that helped me become a better advocate and have more influence on the local Boards and groups I work with”. Renae was a member of the Margaret Fuller House Board in the ‘70’s or ‘80’s and also co-chaired the Area IV Coalition for numerous years.
Renae’s hard work and activism continues today. She currently serves on the Boards of the Cambridge YWCA and of the Cambridge Health Alliance. She is a member of the Cambridge African American Heritage Committee and works with New England Blacks in Philanthropy. Renae is very active in the Area 4 for Peace Committee and recently coordinated “Seven Secrets for Healthy Living”—a collaborative senior project of the MFNH and the Cambridge Public Health Department.
Renae shares that she celebrated her fiftieth birthday by a trip around the world and spent three months in Africa and South East Asia. She is also the proud mother of Michelle Scott. Although she faces numerous personnel obstacles and awaits a new kidney, Renae continues to work tirelessly for others. Let us support and join her in finding a maching kidney donor.
Paul Parravano, Co-Director of Government and Community Relations, has been with MIT’s Office of the President since 1991. His role involves fostering communication and understanding between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and all levels of government, major constituency groups, and MIT’s surrounding community.
Area IV is a key community that Paul works with closely. Paul’s keen sensitivity and passionate understanding encourages communication and resolution even when difficult issues might arise in the Area IV community. Paul has always been a champion of the Kendall Community Group that has recognized and supported the Margaret Fuller House for over 15 years. The Kendall Community Group is a unique and important collaboration of local Companies and three non-profits that include the Margaret Fuller House, the Community Arts Center and Tutoring Plus. Paul has also been a leader in supporting our programs through numerous foundations and his advice and mentoring is a tremendous resource for the Margaret Fuller House.
Within the Office of Government and Community relations, Paul serves as a liaison and resource for people within MIT who may have a need to work with external parties and those in the community who have a similar need to interact with the Institute. Mr. Parravano serves as MIT’s campus federal relations officer, accompanying MIT’s President on regular visits to Washington and hosting campus visits by elected officials and other dignitaries.
In Cambridge, Paul also works to strengthen MIT’s involvement in science education for K-12 teachers and students through a growing list of partnerships, especially with the Cambridge Public Schools. In all of his work and travel, both in Washington and locally, Paul’s most critical task is to represent the Institute in a personal way as a resource for knowledge, neighborly support, and the advancement of MIT’s mission of scientific education and research.
Prior to his employment at MIT, Paul worked as a staff attorney in a civil rights consulting firm in the Boston area, providing advice and consultation for corporations on the implementation of civil rights regulations. He received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and a law degree from Northeastern University School of Law. Paul likes to highlight his strong affinity for baseball, barbecue, and water sports. His greatest delight flows from his family, which includes two absolutely splendid daughters, Emily and Eleanora, and his wife Martha.
We thank Paul for his dedicated work with the Area IV community, for his passion and understanding, and for the continuing support and guidance he provides to the Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House.
Ellen Semonoff has served as the Assistant City Manager for Human Services for the City of Cambridge since 2004. Her responsibilities include leadership and day-to-day management of City’s twenty one million dollar Human Services Department, including child care programs, community and youth programs, substance abuse programs, services for homeless residents, workforce development programs, recreation programs, fuel assistance and summer nutrition programs, services to and programs for seniors and disabled residents. Together with other city leaders, she plays a major role in the citywide Agenda for Children initiative to enhance literacy and out of school time programs for children. Under her leadership, the Department is currently engaged in a major effort to enhance the capacity of the City’s out of school time programs to serve children with disabilities in inclusive environments.
From 1996 until 2003, she served as Deputy Director of the Department and before that served as Assistant to the City Manager from 1991-1995 where she was responsible for advising the City Manager and Deputy City Manager on policy and program issues. In that capacity, she helped lead the City’s legislative and programmatic response to the end of rent control and the City’s negotiations with its City Hospital, eventually resulting in the establishment of a separate public health and hospital authority.
Ms. Semonoff also served as Chair of the Cambridge Rent Control Board and practiced law in Washington D.C. and Boston. She spent several years in Washington D.C., serving as a Special Assistant to the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, Joseph A. Califano and as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. She is a graduate of the Harvard Law School and Brandeis University.
Moacir Barbosa is the Assistant Director for Training and Capacity Building at the Medical Foundation and has been the program coordinator for BEST Initiative since the program’s inception in 1999. Prior to joining TMF, he was Program Coordinator for the Fellowship Center in St. Louis, MO; Director of the Area 4 Youth Center in Cambridge, MA and Supervisor for the Moore Youth Center in Cambridge. As a practitioner his work focused on expanding opportunities for youth and building equitable relationships between youth and institutions. As the coordinator of the BEST Initiative, Mo Barbosa is involved in delivery of training, provides technical assistance, participates in field building initiatives (locally, statewide, and nationally), and promotes the profession and professionalization of the field through his work on legislation, youth worker networks, partnerships with higher education, and youth conferences. As an Adjunct Instructor at the College of Public and Community Service of the University of Massachusetts-Boston, Mo Barbosa has helped to develop a curricula focused on serving youth.
Mo Barbosa has long been involved in efforts to bring about peaceful and just-full resolutions to the issues that we face locally, nationally and globally. His efforts have included work on anti-nuclear proliferation issues, apartheid, global warming, dumping (local and international), water resources, racism, sexism, homophobia, militarization, just economic development, gang violence, sustainable health promotion, youth involvement, community solutions, geo-political issues, and many more issues. His current work in the Area 4/Port neighborhood of Cambridge focuses on violence and other community issues.
As a trainer, Mo Barbosa seeks to build the skills of participants while keeping connections to theory. A long time facilitator of community processes, Mo Barbosa has worked with gangs, parents, youth, political organizations, tenant councils and community resident groups. Mo Barbosa is also a staff consultant with Creating Meaningful Change, a consulting group that focuses on diversity, leadership and organizational development.
Mo Barbosa is the chairperson of Men of Color Health Task Force, finance chair for the Cambridge Youth Programs Advisory Board, a member of the Leadership Team for the Peaceable Schools Institute at Leslie College, and board member of the Joint Public Health Board of the Cambridge Health Alliance and the Board of Trustees of the Phillips Brooks House Association at Harvard University. Mo Barbosa is serving again as a Commissioner on the Cambridge Peace Commission. Mo Barbosa has worked on various political campaigns at the local an national level. Additionally, he has participated in various local, state, and national boards and steering committees focusing on a wide range of issues from youth work to international relations.
Mo Barbosa is a native of Cape Verde Islands who grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in African and African American Studies from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Mo Barbosa is the son of Pedro and Joaquina Barbosa.
We remember the life and service of Lieutenant John Kenney with the presentation of the first annual Lieutenant Kenney Spirit Award as wecelebrate John’s dedication and commitment to the safety and prosperity of Area IV of Cambridge. Police Commissioner Ronnie Watson will present the Lieutenant Kenney Spirit Award in recognition of John’s devotion to public service. John was a Neighborhood Lieutenant through the Neighborhood Sergeants Program. He always provided the highest quality of police service to impact crime and its associated elements. A member of the Cambridge Police Department since 1983, Lieutenant Kenney was very devoted to the city and the community he served.
Lieutenant Kenney was also devoted to the mission of the Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House (MFNH) located in Area IV. John was a member of the Board and a frequent visitor of the house. John always attended Pot-luck dinners and community events– large and small. We remember fondly that John celebrated his recent birthday at the House with the children. John made all our lives better and his presence is greatly missed. John shared his devotion to the Margaret Fuller House and Area IV through his commitment to community service. He gave selflessly to the MFNH as he did in all his interactions and relationships he encountered– from his family to anyone he met.
John W. Kenney Jr. died March 23, 2006. John received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Northeastern University in Boston and a master’s degree from Anna Maria College. He was a lieutenant with the Cambridge Police Department for 22 1/2 years