On January 13, The Embrace, an epic sculptural tribute to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and one of the nation’s largest memorials dedicated to racial equality, was unveiled on the Boston Common. The Alnoba Lewis Family Foundation is proud to have been an early supporter of The Embrace, as the second pledge with a $1 million donation towards its completion.
Spanning 20’ high by 25’ wide, the Hank Willis Thomas piece anchors the 1965 Freedom Plaza, a new space for conversation, reflection, and education about the past and future of the civil rights movement in our city and across the globe. The Embrace represents the iconic hug between the Kings during a news conference following the announcement that he had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Dr. King Jr. and Coretta Scott King were no strangers to Boston, which he called one of his homes. In 1965, Dr. King led a mile-long column of marchers from Roxbury to the Boston Common for a civil rights rally of 22,000 Bostonians. During the address, he extolled the city to live up to its ideals, proclaiming “Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy. Now is the time to make brotherhood a reality.”
Today, the Alnoba Lewis Family Foundation is honored to work alongside many daring leaders who further the legacy of Dr. King’s dream. They include Greg Hill, who founded Team New England; Hermese Velasquez, Executive Director of Summer Search; Bryan Stevenson, Founder, Equal Justice Initiative, Yi Chin Chen, Executive Director, Friends of the Children, Greg Zaff, Founder, SquashBusters Thabiti Brown, Head of School for Codman Academy, Christa Big Canoe, Legal Director, Aboriginal Legal Services; and Josefina Tunki, Leader of the Shuar Arutam People.
Supporting the creation of art in outdoor spaces has long been part of the Alnoba vision. At Alnoba, artworks by some of the most respected artists of our age (including Andy Goldsworthy and Orly Genger) are displayed in natural settings to inspire contemplation and encourage people to experience contemporary art in new ways. The Embrace, free and always open to the public, is sure to do the same as it emphasizes the power of collective action, the role of women as leaders, and the forging of new bonds of solidarity.
We’re proud to support the vision of The Embrace as described at the unveiling by Boston Mayor Michelle Wu. “As we continue our work to ensure Boston is a city for everyone, this memorial is a powerful call to embrace each other more, embrace our nation’s history and embrace what’s possible when we center community.”