Fenway Health’s history was celebrated this week at a ceremony and open house at 7 Haviland Street. Approximately 50 people attended the dedication of a plaque commemorating Fenway’s time at 7 Haviland, which served as our main offices from 1991 to 2009. Attendees included current and former Fenway staff, Fenway Board members, patients, long-time supporters, and members of LGBT student groups from Berklee College of Music, which hosted the reception and now occupies the building.
The event featured a number of speakers from the community, including Omar Thomas, Assistant Professor at Berklee; Chris Connors, Vice President of Human Resources for Diversity and Inclusion at Berklee; Dr. Stephen L. Boswell, President and CEO at Fenway Health; and Rhonda Linde, a Fenway Health staff member for 33 years.
“The opening of 7 Haviland Street in 1991 was significant in several ways,” said Linde during her speech. “Not only was it a physical move to give the health center more space as it grew, but it was symbolic of the visible presence the LGBT community had gained during the AIDS epidemic.”
The offices at 7 Haviland, Linde continued, were the result of a health center – and community – coming of age. “It represented our resiliency in the face of prejudice and plague, and our emergence into equality,” she noted. “There was the sadness of the notebook listing the patients who had died that week and the support groups for staff who were on the front line of the epidemic, but there also was the campiness of each department rehearsing for the lip sync competition… and photos of babies being born in our AI program, staff barbecues out in the garden and finally – in 2004, when same-sex marriage in Massachusetts was legalized – over 1,000 patients came to the health center for pre-marital screening appointments.”
“It will always be remembered with respect for what we accomplished there, and with warmth and pride,” Linde said.
Want to receive email updates about what’s happening at Fenway Health? Sign up here.