Beth Chandler commemorates former YW Boston President & CEO Sylvia Ferrell-Jones during virtual unveiling of the Black History Project of Lexington


This past Thursday, January 14, the Association of Black Citizens of Lexington (ABCL) hosted a virtual unveiling of their Black History Portrait Banners to introduce the Greater Lexington community to Black people who shaped the history and culture of the Town of Lexington, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the United States of America from the 18th century to the present as part of the Black History Project of Lexington. YW Boston President & CEO Beth Chandler joined the event as an invited speaker to commemorate former YW Boston President & CEO Sylvia Ferrell-Jones, who passed away in 2017 and whose birthday we would have celebrated this month. Sylvia’s husband, Sal Jones, also provided remarks during the virtual unveiling. Invited speakers also included State Senator Cindy Friedman, State Representative Michelle Ciccolo, and Lexington Select Board Chair Doug Lucente.


Sylvia’s banner will be joined by banners honoring other prominent leaders including Martin Luther King, Jr., Adelaide McGuinn Cromwell, Silas Burdoo, Hattie T. Scott Peterson, Granville Tailer Woods, Florence Price, Mae C. Jemison, MD, and many others. Twenty banners are being displayed outdoors along Massachusetts Ave. Stop by Depot Square in downtown Lexington, MA to see the other honorees. The banners will be on display from January 14 to March 1, 2021.


Sylvia Ferrell Jones Lexington BannerDuring Thursday’s virtual unveiling, Beth reflected on Sylvia’s tenacious spirit and impactful tenure as YW Boston President & CEO:
“I had the privilege of working with Sylvia for five years at YW Boston where she served as President and CEO for over ten years. When I think of Sylvia, I am often reminded of the Shakespeare quote ‘And Though She Be But Little She Is Fierce.’ During her tenure at YW Boston, Sylvia was determined in her efforts to ensure that YW Boston’s mission to eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all was made manifest.”


Sylvia was a true agent for change who championed the cause of building a more inclusive community for all, and her legacy expends well beyond Greater Boston. As we celebrate Sylvia and the other people being honored as part of ABCL’s Black History Portrait Banners, let’s also consider how we can continue their important legacy once the banners come down.


To learn more about the Association of Black Citizens of Lexington, the Black History Project of Lexington, and the Black History Portrait Banners, visit




About YW Boston

As the first YWCA in the nation, YW Boston has been at the forefront of advancing equity for over 150 years. Through our DE&I services—InclusionBoston and LeadBoston—as well as our advocacy work and F.Y.R.E. Initiative, we help individuals and organizations change policies, practices, attitudes, and behaviors with a goal of creating more inclusive environments where women, people of color, and especially women of color can succeed. 

As part of that work, we are helping organizations prioritize Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and become socially connected while staying physically distant. During this time, YW Boston is providing organizations with digital workshops and resources to help them better understand the challenges faced by their employees. For more information, please contact Sheera Bornstein at