Khalil Saddiq will lead a discussion of short film at Feb. 10 CBC event
When CBC President Joan Cromwell needed a community leader to facilitate the Feb. 10 discussion on the short film “Assumptions and Stereotypes,” she reached out to Khalil Saddiq.
A resident of Grove Street across from Chelsea City Hall, Saddiq responded to Cromwell that he “loved” the idea and was grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to the CBC’s Black History Month schedule of events.
Saddiq, 47, is certainly well qualified in his professional career to moderate the discussion and offer his own viewpoints. He is a racial equity consultant for non-profits and is moving into the for-profit space.
“I help organizations create a racial equity culture throughout their business,” said Saddiq.
He has viewed the film and feels it will generate a lot of varying opinions from Chelsea residents.
“Even though it is a short film, there are a lot of layers and it is very packed with things that can make for great conversations,” he said.
He said in the film the assumptions and stereotypes about racism “are done in a very artistic way.”
“The film is really highlighting that are our daily comings and goings are filled with assumptions about people,” said Saddiq.
CBC president lauds Saddiq
Speaking about Saddiq’s highly anticipated appearance as the moderator of the organization’s Feb. 10 virtual event, CBC President Cromwell said, “Our community is blessed and so fortunate to have Khalil as a resident, mentor, advisor, liaison, and most of all a friend,” said Cromwell. “He is an expert in the field of racial equity development, a keen advocate for veterans and possesses a captivating style of communication that will draw in and convert the biggest skeptics near and far. I am privileged to call Khalil my greatest resource and ally.”
Entering the U.S. Marine Corps
Khalil Saddiq grew up in a small town in southwest Georgia. After graduating from high school, Saddiq entered the U.S. Marine Corps, receiving his recruit training at Parris Island in South Carolina.
He spent six years in military service while stationed in Hawaii and Okinawa in Japan. He served as an administrator overseeing all of the records for the 300 U.S. Marines in his battalion representing four different companies.
While he was in the Marine Corps, Saddiq was married and he has one daughter, Ava Gonzalez, who is now 24 and lives in North Carolina.
When he returned to the United States following his service in the military, he lived in Atlanta and made a decision to start focusing on his education.
“In 2002, I had a friend living in Cambridge and attending Harvard and he encouraged me to come to the area and be surrounded
by all these wonderful colleges in Boston,” said Saddiq.
He enrolled in courses at the Harvard Extension School, but took a break from his studies to work in the service industry to help fund his education.
He returned to school (Cambridge College) in 2008 and pursued his degree in quest of becoming an elementary schoolteacher.
“I love working with kids and in early childhood development,” said Saddiq, who was hired to a teaching position in the Boston school system but soon opted to pursue a career as a social entrepreneur.
Encountering racism in his career
Khalil Saddiq said he experienced incidents of racism as he began in his new career.
“As I look back on these things and I reflect on and understand how I got to where I am today, much of my struggles during my journey of being a very well-educated Black man has been through the struggles of racism,” said Saddiq.
He has emerged as a community activist and community organizer over the past few years.
“A lot of my experiences since 2012 has been working in the community, speaking about social justice issues, helping create programs that have structure and a path toward their funding, and helping to create an understanding about what policies need to be created in order to facilitate justice,” said Saddiq.
Taking an active role in Chelsea organizations
Saddiq has become a member of the Chelsea Planning Board.
He also works closely with the Chelsea Black Community and its president, Joan Cromwell.
“Joan has been fantastic in her leadership role,” said Saddiq. “She is the person with whom I like to interface for an understanding about the Black community in Chelsea. I look forward to helping CBC continue their non-profit development and become stronger in the community so that we can further the development of diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
He is also working as a racial equity consultant with Chelsea GreenRoots, its Executive Director Roseann Bongiovanni, and the staff.
Preparing for the CBC event
Saddiq is looking forward to his role as a moderator of the CBC event.
“I will be asking the participants to tell me about a time where someone assumed something about them just based on how they looked – and how they were treated in that situation,” said Saddiq. The short film and discussion will available on Zoom and begin at 6 p.m