Alumni Spotlight – An Interview with Imari Paris Jeffries

Imari Paris Jeffries, Executive Director of King Boston

You may have seen this incredible feature on Imari Paris Jeffries in The Boston Globe. Imari served as a Jumpstart Corps Member in Boston in the 1990’s, and later rejoined the organization as the Senior Vice President of Field Management and Policy. Today, Imari works as the Executive Director of King Boston, an organization dedicated to building a memorial, The Embrace, honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King, and their time and work together in Boston. In addition to this memorial, King Boston also seeks to create a new Center for Economic Justice, that will support action-oriented solutions to further racial and economic justice, and Embrace Ideas, a public series that engages the community in anti-racist discourse through the arts and humanities.

In this interview, we spoke with Imari about his time at Jumpstart and his advice for Jumpstart Corps Members, staff, and alumni who are interested in racial justice work. His first recommendation was to broaden our scope and understanding about the issues affecting the communities we work alongside.

“So if you’re working or serving with Jumpstart and you are thinking, ‘Well I know a lot about early education, but what about families? What about housing?’ … I would say volunteer at a housing nonprofit so that you can understand the relationship between early education and family stability through housing, and understand what happens to these kids when they leave preschool.”

Imari shared that it’s important to grow your own understanding and take the iniative to get involved in racial justice work, yourself:

“If you are interested in racial equity, volunteer at a racial equity organization. That knowledge that you’re getting from being affiliated with that organization—you can bring that back to your work life, especially in this moment of racial reckoning, where people are thinking, ‘I’m afraid to say the wrong thing. Where do I go to learn?’

Learn more ways you can grow the impact of your social justice work and enjoy our interview with Imari, below.

Together, we can help all children build the key language and literacy skills they need to take on the world.

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