June’s New York Monthly Meeting’s Spotlight featured Kevin Jennings, President of the Tenement Museum, a nonprofit that preserves and interprets the history of immigration through the experience of those who settled in and built lives on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, America’s iconic immigrant neighborhood. Kevin described his powerful vision to transform his organization from a local New York museum that describes the immigrant experience into a global entity that champions the human rights and the dignity of all immigrants, migrants, and refugees.
Kevin delivered a riveting presentation, describing a personal journey that started in rural North Carolina where he grew up experiencing first-hand the meaning of racism, gay bashing, and intolerance – and extended to his time at Harvard where he became the first in his family to attend college. Kevin has dedicated his entire professional career to social impact, both as a professional and volunteer, including co-founding the Gay and Lesbian School Teachers Network (GLSTN); being selected by President Obama as Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools; and serving a successful five-year term as Executive Director of the Arcus Foundation, a philanthropic foundation advancing social justice and conservation issues.
Kevin closed by quoting the unforgettable words of Elie Wiesel: Whenever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.