Coll. 002: David Scondras Collection Finding Aid
David Scondras was born on January 5, 1946 in Lowell, Massachusetts to first generation Greek- American parents, George and Dorothy. After graduating with honors from Lowell High School, David attended Harvard University where he received his Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics in 1968. In 1974 David received his Master's Degree in economics from Northeastern University.
A longtime community activist and educator, Scondras received nationwide attention for his work around arson prevention. In 1976 he co-founded the Symphony Tenants Organizing Project (STOP), whose work led to the conviction of a thirty-one member arson-for-profit ring in the Fenway area. In 1977 David helped draft and lobby for the first comprehensive anti-arson law in the country.
A lifelong advocate for the rights of tenants and senior citizens, Scondras is a noted lecturer on issues around human rights, anti-racism, anti-homophobia and arson prevention. He is an international human rights activist and has travelled to El Salvador and Nicaragua to observe, local and national elections and to speak on human rights issues. Scondras was chosen by the Harvard/ Radcliff Alumni Against Apartheid to be a candidate for the Harvard Board of Overseers; Bishop Tutu endorsed his candidacy. In 1971 Scondras along with numerous other community activists founded the Fenway Community Health Center and obtained federal funding to provide medical services to neighborhood residents.
David Scondras was elected to the Boston City Council in 1983 and became the first openly gay individual elected to that body. During his ten-year tenure, he advocated for the gay and lesbian community, opposing then-Governor Michael Dukakis' decision to deny gay couples the right to adopt. As a member of Boston City Council, Scondras worked on a variety of issues from; fair and affordable housing, minority rights, rat control, to developing a water table land trust to help endangered properties in the Boston area. He led a boycott of Coors Beer to end its funding of political extremist groups and introduced and won approval of a Human Rights Ordinance that, for the first time, protected the gay and lesbian citizens of Boston. He established a Human Rights Commission, and led an effort to bring about a coalition of community and political activists to pass the State's Gay Rights Bill. It was reported by the Boston Globe that Scondras, during his time in City Council, sponsored over 150 legislative initiatives.
Scondras was an early proponent of funding for HIV/AIDS research, and in 1987 founded The Boston Human Rights Institute, (BHRI) a not-for-profit organization. It was established and incorporated as a direct result of the Coors Beer Boycott Settlement. After Scondras lost re-election in 1994, the BHRI was unofficial renamed Search For A Cure, to refocus its mission dedicated to AIDS education, prevention and research not only locally, but around the world.