2012-2013: Thomas Doyle and Horace Seldon
Thomas Doyle blew the whistle on the clergy sexual abuse scandal within the Catholic Church. In the 1980s, he was a fast-rising church insider at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, D.C. when he discovered how church leadership covered up the sexual abuse of children by priests. He came forward with little regard for his own position as a priest but with great concern for the victims of this abuse. His efforts led many Catholics to demand an explanation from their leadership along with an insistence on greater transparency in dealing with the issue.
His actions have empowered hundreds of victims to come forward and have prompted legislatures throughout the U.S. to eliminate or lengthen statutes of limitations in cases of sexual abuse of the young. For his service to victims, Doyle is often called a hero. He spurns the label and points instead to the survivors whose strength and courage have inspired him. In 2007, he received the Red Badge of Courage Award from SNAP (Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests). Doyle, now 68 years old, resides in Vienna, Virginia.
In 1968, Horace Seldon had an epiphany about racism following Dr. King’s assassination. A white man and a United Church of Christ Minister, he experienced a clear calling that his life’s work was to dismantle structural racism and address what the Kerner Commission called the “white problem.” That year, he founded Community Change Inc. (CCI) of Boston, a non-profit group that addresses racial issues through a variety of community activities including support to multi-racial groups taking action, the establishment of a resource center and library on racism, civil rights internships for college students, and workshops on systemic racism for large and small non-profits, churches, and schools.
In 1980, he began teaching a course on racism at Boston College. For 52 semesters he taught over 2400 students the structural development of American racial attitudes and equipped them with tools to become agents of change. In 1995, he stepped down as the Executive Director of CCI in order to facilitate the process of the organization becoming sustainable beyond its founding director.
At age 74, he became a National Park Service Ranger working for the Boston National Historic Site. He became a well-respected historian with a focus on William Lloyd Garrison and the abolition movement. He has stepped down as an employee but continues as a volunteer there. Seldon, now 89, resides in Wakefield, MA.