A Purpose Driven Life
The eldest of three boys, Joe-Joe was born to a Jewish mother and an Irish father. The family lived in an apartment behind the local “packie” (Massachusetts-speak for a convenience/liquor store). When he was just a year old, his parents adopted five-week-old Kacey, and a few years later, their surprise brother B-J was born.
Racism became an issue for the McManus boys early in life because of the racist reactions to Kacey, who was adopted and African American. Additional issues of anti-Semitism and classism piled on over time. From early childhood experiences until today, Joe-Joe continues to strive to live his best anti-racist life; continuing to learn, partnering with others working to make a difference, and fighting for equity, inclusion, and justice across the full spectrum of diversity in his personal life, in community, and professionally.
Today, Dr. Joe-Joe is a dad. Mak (they/them pronouns) identifies as racially mixed and non-binary. At ten-years-old, after viewing the footage of the murder of George Floyd with their dad, Makkie challenged him to do more. They knew about their fathers’ work. They had taken part in protests, participated in classes that he taught, and joined in on conversations about racism and intersecting oppression at home.
Still, after seeing the video, Makkie’s immediate response was to tell their dad that he needed to do more; that what he had done so far was not enough. That conversation was instrumental in pushing him to write his upcoming book which focuses on living an actively anti-racist life in solidarity against all forms of oppression. It also inspired Dr. Joe-Joe to return to speaking in public, after decades of work primarily behind the scenes.
A track record of excellence and impact.
Dr. Joe-Joe has held faculty, staff, and executive roles, including Chief Diversity Officer. He has served at an HBCU, an international university, an Ivy League institution, a religion affiliated university, and at the public university system level. He has lectured, served on panels, presented, and consulted in the U.S. and internationally for nearly three decades. His work has centered around how best to bring about and develop antiracist leadership and organizations actively engaged in inclusive excellence.