Dewayne "Boo" Hackney joined the NVI Board in the fall of 2020. Born and raised in South Providence, Mr. Hackney is a community leader and activist. As he tells it, he was always protected, respected, and looked after as a child in his neighborhood andthat made a big impact on him. As a young man he knew that he wanted to be accountable to himself and his community. He was determined to help where he could and bring people together.
Years ago, he and his childhood friend, the late Michael Holston, founded IT'S HAIR, a barbershop on Broad Street in Providence that was a community hub for 20 years. With "Grooming Our People for Life" as its tagline, IT'S HAIR was much more than a barbershop. It was also a neighborhood gathering place and community service center with an open door policy. Staff helped neighbors with everything from offering free haircuts for children to fundraising when someone was in need. Eventually Mr. Hackney wanted time to focus on his family and do advocacy on his terms so he left the business.
In 2008, he and Sister Iasha Johnson, Gerard Catala, Osiris Harrell, Arthur Johnson and Providence faith and community leaders including Ray Watson, Pastor Sharrod Jones, Bro. Everett Mohammed, and Bro. Ray Smith, founded the No More Murder March. At its height, 500 people marched to end violence and hundreds more waved them on from the sidelines. The march ended in 2016, but the call for nonviolence continues.
Mr. Hackney's personal philosophy is IT'S ON US (IOU), which has become a community movement. "It's me saying to the city and everyone else, "I owe you," he explains. IOU works to create the best outcome possible when there is an incident or situation. Responsibility and accountability are the watch words for the movement. As a member of the NAACP, the African American Ambassador Group hosted by Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, and as a board member of NVI, Mr. Hackney walks to walk.
With his wife Kia; daughter Kijiah; and son Daybue, Mr. Hackney still makes Providence his home. In fall 2021, he will receive the Sister Ann Keefe Award from NVI in recognition of his service and dediction to our community. Thank you, Mr. Hackney, for all that you do to make a difference on our streets and in our neighborhoods.