The Featured Feminist column is an initiative by the WC which aims to debunk the common stereotypes and stigma associated with the word "feminist." By highlighting the profiles and achievements of dedicated, passionate individuals in the Boston College community, the WC staff hopes not only to foster a greater sense of appreciation for people who bring the ideals of equality and social justice into their daily lives, but also raise awareness in the BC community towards a more positive and inclusive definition of the word feminism.
If you would like to nominate someone to become a Featured Feminist, please fill out our nomination form via this link (BC username and password required).
Juan Alexander Concepcion, Esq.
Department: African & African Diaspora Studies Program
Classes Taught: Race, Law and Resistance, AADS 3310.01
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I love Boston College. I am an adjunct member of the University faculty and I have served on the Board of Trustees in various capacities since 2010. I am a Quadruple Eagle (B.A. ‘96, M.Ed. ‘97, J.D./M.B.A. ’03), who grew up in New York City and attended Cardinal Hayes High School in the South Bronx. I am a seasoned litigator and employment attorney currently in public service helping to strategically manage a dynamic workforce of nearly 10,000 public employees within the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), including the Registry of Motor Vehicle (RMV), the Highway Division, Aeronautics, and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). In private practice for many years at two law firms, I served as outside legal counsel to employers of all sizes in diverse industries and until recently was in-house counsel for a marketing and technology company.
2. What are you most passionate about?
I am very passionate about addressing wage and benefits disparities and eliminating explicit and unconscious bias, prejudice and harassment that women certainly face in the workplace. The goal is the full integration of women into leadership positions with meaningful opportunities to transform organizational culture. The obstacles thrown at women clearly affect our entire families and communities.
As a product of Jesuit education, I am very passionate about social justice and equal protection under the law. Professionally, I help employers who are seeking to reap the competitive advantages of having an integrated and culturally competent workforce that thrives on innovation, equity and inclusion. My passion lies in helping to move the dialogue from mere compliance to the seamless integration of all employees. At MassDOT/MBTA, for example, my team and I are constantly taken steps to that end. We recently spearheaded an initiative designed to properly accommodate employees who are nursing mothers returning to work, including many in some of our safety-sensitive positions. As seen in recent years, local, state, and federal law are requiring that employers be much more aware and responsive to the needs of all employees, particularly those facing artificial barriers and illegitimate impediments.
3. How do you define “feminism”?
Like many people who have an appreciation for the many disadvantages that have been historically imposed on women—and their families, I would define “feminism” as fuller consciousness and unwavering commitment to social justice and equal protection under the law.
4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?
We must all learn to prioritize human dignity and personal decency. As the son of a strong and hardworking woman who was, among other things, paid less than her male counterparts for the same (if not more) work, I was personally affected by the unfair devaluation of her labor as a seamstress and later as a health professional. For me—and I suspect any male who grew up in similar situations—developing the proper sensitivity to all the unwarranted (and quite frankly, unjust and unlawful) barriers and impediments to opportunities placed before our grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters, cousins and daughters is an important first step in our development as morally upright individuals. Being a feminist is as important as being an anti-racist.
5. Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired by my family and my community. As evident from my responses, my mother, Rosa, and other special women in my life have inspired me through their indomitable personal spirit, boundless faith in God and selfless devotion to their families and neighbors. I think my mother is a perfect replica of my late grandmother, Mercedes (“Chela”), who taught us that serving others purely for the greater glory of God is all the inspiration one will ever need to excel in life.