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Healing Locally, Healing Globally

Healing Locally, Healing GloballyThe family of Tufts graduate Gloria White-Hammond, a Boston-based activist, minister and physician, is helping make a difference both in the city and around the world.

Boston [12.18.06] In her role as a minister, doctor and social advocate, Tufts graduate Gloria White-Hammond has sought to heal the spirit, heal the body and heal the community. A recent cover story in The Boston Globe Magazine highlighted White-Hammond and her family as beacons of promise for a city hoping for a new era of intercultural harmony.

"Now, at a pivotal moment in Boston's history of race relations, they are the one family that is poised to affect this city's future more than any other," the Globe wrote.

White-Hammond, who graduated from Tufts School of Medicine in 1976 and received an honorary degree in 2006, makes her positive influence felt in all corners of Boston.

"They have the ultimate transit visa," Boston Foundation president Paul Grogan explained to the newspaper. "They can cross any frontier in this city, from the boardrooms of the wealthiest individuals to the kids on the meanest streets in Boston."

White-Hammond calls her work and the work of her family a "calling."

"I think our job is almost to be ambassadors to some extent to communities who, if left to their own design, might not ever interact with each other," she told the Globe.

White-Hammond's entire family is actively engaged in the betterment of their city, the newspaper reported. Her husband, Ray, is a prominent minister at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal in Jamaica Plain and chairman of the Boston Foundation. Oldest daughter Mariama heads the youth advocacy organization Project Hip-Hop, while the younger Adiya teaches in Boston Public Schools.

"They are what I call 'quiet storms.' They don't beat their chests or seek attention," Boston publicist Colette Phillips told the Globe. "You almost don't know what they are doing until they are already fully engaged in it."

White-Hammond herself has become active in efforts relating to the crisis in Sudan's Darfur region. After traveling there in 2001 with her husband and former Boston newscaster Liz Walker, White-Hammond became committed to helping free Sudanese people who had been sold into slavery.

"Gloria just has such a quiet determination," Walker, who worked on a film about her efforts in Sudan, told the Globe.

The plight of the slaves and refugees touched White-Hammond deeply.

"The women were the ones who were enslaved, and they were raped, and they were beaten," she recounted to the Globe. "You hear these stories and connect them to those stories, and you think, 'Oh, my God, that is what they went through.'"

White-Hammond co-formed a group called My Sister's Keeper, which helps Sudanese villages with food production and education. She was also named chairwoman of the Million Voices for Darfur campaign spearheaded by the Save Darfur Coalition and is co-chair of the Massachusetts Coalition to Save Darfur.

"Clearly, she helped us reach an audience and a constituency that we hadn't reached earlier," David Rubenstein, executive director of the Save Darfur Coalition, told the Globe.

"I believe God does really want to use Sudan to make a point, and part of it is to demonstrate the power of diverse people coming together in support of a global issue," White-Hammond said to the Globe. "And we're doing it."

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