Boston College alumnus Steve Pemberton (‘89) will give a reading and signing of his memoir, A Chance in the World: An Orphan Boy, a Mysterious Past, and How He Found a Place Called Home, this Thursday, March 15, at Boston College.
Pemberton is the divisional vice president and chief diversity officer of Walgreens. He embarked on his unconventional road into corporate America as a confused, mixed-race, mistreated orphan in search of his identity.
In A Chance in the World, Pemberton discovers that his mother was white and his father black. His life in foster care began when his father died and his mother succumbed to a struggle with alcoholism.
Pemberton looks deeper than his own parents, however, striving to find a place for hope and unity. “What I also represent is a very long history,” Pemberton says, “My grandfathers—one immigrated from Ireland, and the other from the West Indies. Even though they were aware of one another, they never talked, they never got the chance.”
What Pemberton takes away from his struggle as a child hiding in the cellar as “a foster family’s slings and arrows rained overhead,” is the reality that all he needed was “a place where there was care and love.”
“Hope needs a home,” he insists, “a place where it lives, breathes.”
In the wake of his book debut, the Pemberton Fund for the Future is working with The Home for Little Wanderers to launch Roxbury Village, a haven for foster children aging out of the system. Young adults from the ages of 18 to 22 can find shelter in Roxbury Village, where benefits include stable and affordable housing, access to health and wellness resources, and strong community connections. Each young adult in Roxbury Village will interact with a Life Coach whose mission it is to empower residents, guiding them to set goals and make healthy choices.
Pemberton, who first came to BC as a young student in search of a home and a future, has now been named one of Fortune’s Top 20 Chief Diversity Officers and one of Savoy’s Top 100 most influential African-Americans in corporate America (2008).
“When I was a boy, I dreamed,” says Pemberton, “and that really has not changed.”
The event is sponsored by Boston College Magazine and co-sponsored by BC’s Office of AHANA Student Programs, Office for Institutional Diversity, and Office of Undergraduate Admission.
The reading and signing will occur this Thursday, March 15, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. in Devlin Hall, Room 101, on Boston College, Chestnut Hill Campus. It is free and open to the public.
Watch a video about A Chance in the World.