Meet Alexandria McKenzie, 2024 City of Boston’s Equity & Inclusion Cabinet Summer Intern

The Boston University Initiative on Cities and the Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground are happy to announce that Alexandria McKenzie (CAS ’26) has been selected as this year’s summer intern with the City of Boston’s Equity & Inclusion Cabinet. Alexandria will work directly with the Senior Advisor on Racial Justice, Ms. Lori Nelson, and the team to support activities overseen by her office. As Senior Advisor, Ms. Nelson is responsible for leading the development and implementation of racial justice initiatives, specifically advancing racial equity, social justice, and social cohesion through community engagement, public policy initiatives, collaboration with non-governmental institutions, and research projects. This internship is the successor to a longstanding partnership with what was formerly known as the Mayor’s Office of Resilience & Racial Equity (MORRE).

We asked Alexandria several questions about her interests and passion and why she selected the Cabinet & Inclusion Cabinet for her summer internship.

Introduce yourself!

Hello! My name is Alexandria McKenzie, and I’m from Rochester, New York. I study political science at the College of Arts and Sciences at BU, with a minor in African American and Black Diaspora Studies. At BU, I’m involved in the Black Student Task Force, an initiative to establish a center dedicated to uplifting Black Students on campus. I also love music and host 2 radio shows on WTBU. Outside of school, I spend my time organizing local grassroots initiatives. I have volunteered with UJIMA Boston, participating in community-building events, facilitating workshops, and more!

What made you want to apply for this internship?

Working with the Equity and Inclusion Cabinet to uplift marginalized communities through public policy is an initiative with tremendous value in itself. What really drew me to apply for this position, however, was the opportunity to work alongside the Reparations Task Force. I have felt discouraged by the gentrification, inadequate education opportunities, and transportation inequity faced by Black residents of Boston, and puzzled by how to combat it. I have since learned that in order to truly reform these injustices, it is necessary to look to the root of where they began. In this case, these circumstances can be traced back to slavery’s deep entanglements in our social and political structures. Issuing reparations is the first step to restoring what has been lost, in direction of an inclusive future.

When did you first become interested in racial equity?

As a Black woman, racial equity has always been a part of my life. That being said, I came into my role as an activist for racial justice during the revival of the Black Lives Matter movement in light of the killing of George Floyd. Following this was the killing of Daniel Prude, 20 minutes from my home in Rochester. I was quickly exposed to the harsh realities faced by people of color. My time engaging in demonstrations for racial justice opened up a new world of grassroots organizing, and I became enveloped in the beauty, community, and culture that comes from the unification over a cause like racial equity.

What are you looking forward to most this summer?

Above all, I am looking forward to deepening my roots in this wonderfully complex city. There are so many great activists, workers, creators, business owners, and thinkers that make up Boston’s flourishing communities of color. I hope to use this position to reach as many people as possible, and to see how the policy I research translates into tangible life. There is so much to learn from the people around me, and I’m eager to see what new perspectives this summer brings!