An Iconic Boston Peace Activist And Her Family Need Your Help

Owly Images 

Sometimes the most awful, unimaginable things happen to the people who least deserve it. All too often, life seems to unfold that way. Those were the first thoughts that came to mind moments ago, when I heard the incredibly sad news that iconic Boston peace activist Cindy Diggs, who also happens to be a good friend, lost her Mission Hill home and most of her belongings in a fire on Christmas Eve, of all times.

Such disasters are always devastating. Even in a digital age, where many of our pics and memories are stored up in the cloud, there's no way to replace the countless tokens that one collects over a lifetime. But even before that consideration, it's difficult to think about a tragedy like this befalling Cindy and her family. She's spent her entire adult life keeping her community from burning, and not just metaphorically.

I first knew Cindy through her work with Peace Boston and related unification campaigns – all of which involved a musical element. Two years ago, though, we spoke for a story that was less about violence in the Hub, and more about a baseline neighborhood concern. The diversity and future vitality of Mission Hill, she noted, was being compromised by Northeastern University, which had neglected to fulfill promises it made to local residents.

At no point in our discussions did Cindy offer blanket sentiments against gentrification. Rather, she was making an attempt to ensure that all stakeholders were involved with relevant decisions; in the least, she was asking that students stop partying out on their porches 'til all hours. Bottom line: few people love their community as much as Cindy does, which is why it's all the more tragic that she's been displaced from it.


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