East Somerville resident Tracey Pratt was recently honored at the 2021 Black Excellence on the Hill event, which is hosted annually by the Massachusetts Black & Latino Legislative Caucus (MBLLC) to commemorate Black community leaders and trailblazers who are making a difference in cities and towns across the Commonwealth. Tracey was nominated for this recognition by Representative Mike Connolly. This year the event was held virtually with opening remarks from Representative Chynah Tyler, House Speaker Ronald Mariano, and Senate President Karen Spilka. The keynote address was delivered by Sean Ellis, founder of the Exoneree Network whose life story of being falsely accused of murder was the subject of the acclaimed Netflix Documentary Trial 4.
“I was proud to nominate and welcome Tracey Pratt to the virtual ceremony on Friday to be officially recognized with the Black Excellence award for 26th Middlesex district of Cambridge and Somerville,” said Rep Connolly. “Thank you, Tracey, for all that you do to give voice to the marginalized and underrepresented, to organize against racism in our community, and to lead the way toward racial and economic justice, both in the classroom and in the streets.”
Tracey Pratt has been a public school teacher for the past 21 years, first in the District of Columbia Public Schools and now serving as an elementary Health and Wellness teacher in Cambridge where her curriculum focuses on social emotional learning through a social justice lens. A lifelong learner, Tracey seeks new opportunities to bring experiences back to her students, particularly through travel. Her international destinations have included China, Ghana, Cuba, and recently Mexico, where she served as assistant principal and curriculum coordinator at a bilingual primary school. Upon her return she began teaching English to immigrant young adults through the Welcome Project’s English for Parents Program in Somerville. Tracey has been civically engaged in the community, serving on the Cambridge Democratic City Committee from 2004-2010. She currently serves on the Somerville Democratic City Committee, where she also chairs her Ward Committee. In the wake of the murder of George Floyd last summer, Ms. Pratt co-founded Just Us Somerville with a mission of uplifting voices of people of color. After holding several rallies to protest police brutality the group continues to work on ways to amplify the voices of the underserved in Somerville.
Joined by her mother, Eleanor, and colleagues from the Cambridge Public School District, upon acceptance of the award Tracey remarked, "I'd like to thank State Representative Mike Connolly for this nomination and the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus for recognizing the work all fellow recipients and I do. I share the spirit of this award with my fellow members of Just Us Somerville, an organization created to uplift the voices of Black and Brown people in our city. I share the spirit of this award with every teacher in the state of Massachusetts, but especially in Cambridge; with the Pastor and Members of Connexion UMC and every champion of social justice everywhere. Let us keep pushing, let us keep pressing, let us keep protesting and let us keep praying until change happens; It’s just beyond the horizon!"
Other honorees at the ceremony included Dr. Jibreel Khazan (nominated by Rep. Cabral), one of the original “AT&T 4” who initiated the sit-in movement at Woolworth’s Lunch Counter in Greensboro, North Carolina on February 1, 1960 which sparked that strategy of protest during the Civil Rights Movement, as well as Cambridge and Somerville delegation nominated honorees: Kyera Singleton of Somerville (nominated Rep. Barber and Senator Jehlen), Director of the Royall House and Slave Quarters in Medford, and Reverend Myrlande DesRosiers (nominated by Senator DiDomenico), Director of the Everett Haitian Community Center.