As an emergency physician, Alister Martin, MD, MPP, MGH Emergency Medicine, learned countless lessons working through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cindy Diggs, community and cultural engagement manager at Mass General, was named the 2021 Peace MVP by the Mass Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, honoring her dedication to being an activist for peace and economic security in Boston neighborhoods.
During the sixth annual Peace MVP awards ceremony Sept. 23, attendees spoke highly and fondly of Diggs, including State Rep. Liz Miranda, who recalled Diggs’ mentorship as a young girl growing up in Roxbury. “Thank you for encouraging me to use my talents to engage in my community and to make it a better place,” Miranda said.
“Cindy is an integral part of the history, present, and future of the coalition,” said Ruth Zakarin, executive director of the Mass Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence. “We were thrilled to honor her as this year’s Peace MVP for her powerful work in the community and her incredible leadership. We cannot imagine our work without her wisdom and partnership.”
Heartfelt videos and touching stories shed light on Diggs’ career as a youth worker, hip-hop promoter, community activist and founder of Peace Boston, chronicling her far-reaching impact that started when she was 14 years old.
In her role with Mass General Equity and Community Health, Diggs has been instrumental in supporting and advocating for local businesses. “At a time when so many felt helpless in what they could do, Cindy did what felt natural,” said Leslie Aldrich, executive director for the Center for Community Health Improvement. “She recognized the disproportionate impact of COVID on local Black business owners, amplified the voices of those in the community, and forged mutually beneficial relationships.”
Believing that economic empowerment is closely tied to violence prevention, Diggs says, “The opposite of violence is opportunity.”
“We are so proud of Cindy for receiving this prestigious award,” said Joseph R. Betancourt, MD, senior vice president for Equity and Community Health. “We are very fortunate to have such an inspirational community leader helping to strengthen our relationships in Boston – particularly in Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan—where building greater trust is critical to improving health and well-being and reducing alarming health disparities.”
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