Program of Events

Military Procession

54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment, Company A (Living History)
54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment HQs and Company C (Honor Guard)
US Federal Troops/Allies, Civil War Fife and Drum

Presentation of Colors and National Anthem

54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment, Company A & 54th Massachusetts Regiment Company C (Honor Guard)
Soprano Brianna J Robinson


Host Karen Holmes Ward, WCVB Director of Public Affairs and Community Services


Chaplain (COL) Paul Minor, 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment

Remarks by

Liz Vizza, President, Friends of the Public Garden
Governor Charlie Baker
Mayor Michelle Wu

“We Run on African Time”

Poet Sarah Nwafur

Remarks by

Professor David Blight, Sterling Professor of American History, Yale University
Robert Stanton, Former Director of the National Park Service and Co-Chair of Partnership to Renew the Shaw 54th Monument

“Those Heroes Who Healed the Nation”

Composed by Julius P. Williams, Performed by Boston Children’s Chorus

America’s Legacy of Service: An Unbroken Chain of Courage

Lieutenant General Gary M. Brito, United States Army Deputy Chief of Staff

Remarks by

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, Director & Founder of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research


Pastor Willie Bodrick II, 12th Baptist Church

Taps followed by wreath laying and moment of silence

Colonel Winn
David Hencke, First Sergeant 54th Massachusetts
US Sergeant Zachary Grady, 54th MA Volunteer Regiment, Massachusetts Army National Guard

“Lift Every Voice & Sing”

Boston Arts Academy Alum Tori Boyd


Michael Creasey, Superintendent, National Parks of Boston



karen holmes ward portrait

Mrs. Karen Holmes Ward is the Director of Public Affairs and Community Services as well as host and executive producer of CityLine, WCVB-TV’s award winning weekly magazine program which addresses the accomplishments, concerns, and issues facing people of color living in Boston and its suburbs. Holmes Ward also oversees WCVB’s public service and community outreach efforts. Karen has been inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame and has received numerous awards for her work in the community including the Boston Jaycees Ten Outstanding Young Leaders Award.


portrait of historian David Blight

Dr. David Blight is a teacher, scholar and public historian. He is currently a professor of American History,  African American Studies, and American Studies, and Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University. The author or editor of a dozen books, Blight’s most recent work, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, has won several awards including the Pulitzer Prize in History. His works explore abolition, American historical memory, and African American history.

portrait of Bob Stanton

Mr. Robert G. Stanton is a Scholar-In-Residence at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, and a private consultant in natural and cultural resource preservation, management, diversity, and inclusion. From 1997-2001, he served as the first African American Director of the National Park Service. During his tenure as National Park Service Director, Mr. Stanton dedicated himself to increasing diversity and inclusion in the work force and public programs. Mr. Stanton has been nationally recognized through awards and citations, and is active in professional and civic affairs.

U.S. Army Lt. Gen Gary M. Brito Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1 official portrait
U.S. Army photo by William Pratt

Lieutenant General Gary M. Brito, a native of Hyannis, was commissioned an infantry officer through Penn State University and entered active duty in March 1987. He is married to the former Michelle Harper of Washington, D.C. They have two sons, Matthew and Patrick. He is a graduate of numerous military schools, and holds degrees in community studies, human resource management and joint strategy and campaign planning from Penn State University, Troy State University and the Joint Advanced Warfighting School respectively. LTG Brito has served in a variety of command and staff assignments, and has deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. He currently serves as the U.S. Army’s 49th deputy chief of staff, G-1.

portrait of Ibram X. Kendi
Credit: Stephen Voss

Ibram X. Kendi is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University, and the founding director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research. Dr. Kendi is the author of many highly acclaimed books including Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction, making him the youngest author to win that award. He had also produced five straight #1 New York Times bestsellers, including How to Be an Antiracist. In 2020, Time magazine named Dr. Kendi one of the 100 Most Influential People in the world. He was awarded a 2021 MacArthur Fellowship, popularly known as the Genius Grant.


Brianna Robinson portrait

Soprano Brianna J. Robinson is a proud graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Eastman School of Music. She specializes in a wide range of classical repertoire from Baroque to New Music.

singer Tori Boyd portrait

Latoria “Tori” Boyd is best known as the Boston-based singer, songwriter, producer, and vocal loopologist, ToriTori. After graduating from Boston Arts Academy, she received a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music earning a degree in Music Business and Management. ToriTori has sung with artists such as Ben E. King, Jamie Foxx, and Kelly Rowland and performed for Valerie Simpson of Ashford and Simpson and former President Barack Obama. Currently, she is preparing to release her second studio EP entitled Pocket Knife, which is expected to be released Summer 2022.


Dr. Topper Carew

Dr. Topper Carew is an award-winning film and television writer, producer, and director. He earned a Bachelor of Architecture from Howard University, a Master’s Degree in Environmental Design from Yale University, and a Doctorate from the Union Graduate School/Institute of Policy Studies. After transitioning from architecture to media, Topper’s television and film work received innumerable awards. He created content for PBS, HBO, Showtime, Nickelodeon, and Disney; some airing nationally. He produced popular films, including DC Cab, and over 200 concerts and events. Among his most notable achievements is as Co-Creator and Executive Producer of the “Martin” television series, nearing its 30th broadcast year. In April of 2018, an array of Topper’s early work was publicly exhibited at the Smithsonian, where it also is being archived.

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