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October 1, 2020
 
King Boston Appoints Imari Paris Jeffries as Executive Director
Imari Paris Jeffries
Imari Paris Jeffries

June 18, 2020 — King Boston, a Boston-based nonprofit working to create a new memorial and programs honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King, recently announced that Imari K. Paris Jeffries has been named executive director of the three-year-old organization.

Paris Jeffries will succeed Marie St. Fleur, who has guided King Boston through much of the process of siting and approving the planned memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King on the Boston Common.

“The events of the past few months, and especially the past two weeks, have again put a sharp focus on issues of equity and justice that the Kings raised more than 50 years ago,” said Paul English, board co-chair and founder of King Boston. “The King Center and the memorial are being designed to spark dialogue and action, and I am thankful to Marie St. Fleur for her work and excited to partner with Imari, a military veteran and long-time champion of equity, to continue the effort.”

Paris Jeffries, who assumes the new position June 30, is a longtime nonprofit executive and . He Parenting Journey inn 2017, where he has served as executive director. He also held executive roles at Jumpstart, Boston Rising, and Friends of The Children.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, and Master of Education degrees from the University of Massachusetts-Boston, and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. through UMass Boston’s Higher Education Program.

Paris Jeffries serves as a trustee of the UMass System, as well as on the boards of USES, Providers Council, and Governor Baker’s Black Advisory Commission. He is a three-time graduate of UMass Boston and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. through UMass Boston’s Higher Education Program.

“In 1965, Dr. King called on Boston to be a testing ground for the ideal of freedom. It’s taken unacceptably long, but we stand in a moment that provides the opportunity to bring progress out of tragedy, and the King Center for Economic Justice and the Embrace memorial to the Kings can and should provide a spark and home for that work,” said Paris Jeffries.

“Marie has been a big sister, friend, mentor, and leader for many of us and I look forward to continuing the work and moving this project from vision to action both on the Common and in Roxbury, as we work to eliminate the social and economic injustices that have once again been made so visible in the COVID-19 pandemic and the killing of George Floyd.”

King Boston is also working to establish the King Center for Economic Justice at the Roxbury branch of the Boston Public Library.

“It has been an exciting, and yes, challenging time continuing the momentum of the King Boston initiative over the past two years,” said St. Fleur, “But as I step down, we are ever closer to the creation of a powerful, multi-faceted tribute to the Kings which both recognizes their important work in Boston and provides the opportunity to build upon that legacy. I want to acknowledge and thank all the partners who continue to support this work."

Site work on the Boston Common for the memorial is expected to begin this summer.

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