‘Sidewalk Susie’: Harvard humanitarian harasses a mom and child for playing

Theresa Lund, the executive director of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative at Harvard University (Image Source: Facebook/ Alyson Laliberte)

Another instance of harassment based on race and the assumption of economics has been exposed for all of Black Twitter to judge. In this case, a Harvard educator and humanitarian, now dubbed “Sidewalk Susie,” is on display because of a confrontation with a mother and her biracial daughter.

Alyson Laliberte posted on Facebook about her encounter with a woman now identified as Theresa Lund, the executive director of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative at Harvard University. Here’s how Laliberte described what happened in her Facebook post:

“Y’all here is another Permit Patty trying to kick me off my own property because she’s having a hard time getting her kids to take a nap at 3:30 in the afternoon on a Saturday. I’m outside enjoying the afternoon with my daughter when this woman came downstairs and asked me if I would move so her kids can nap. Mind you it’s midday and we weren’t even being loud at all drawing with chalk. She followed me around and harassed me trying to get my information and apartment number as if she had a right to know. When I wouldn’t tell her she proceeded to ask me if I lived in the ‘affordable apartments’ of the building for Cambridge residents or if I lived in one of the Harvard owned apartments (which is all the same building anyway).

“It was totally discriminating and racist of her.. or maybe it was because my daughter is biracial who knows. I have no idea who this woman is and the fact that she thinks she has some kind of authority over me is crazy! She wanted to know what apartment number I lived at so she can yell outside my window to see if I like it (real mature) as you hear her say in the video. This woman’s house is no bigger than mine even if she lives in one of the apartments that are owned by Harvard. Despite color, where I live, how much money I have she will be buried 6 feet under just like me… Why do people think they are literally better than others? Why does she think she has a right to make us move?

“If she really did not want to be disturbed she would own a one family house instead of deciding on moving into a condominium with a bunch of neighbors. I’ve lived in this complex for 15 years. Not one other person complained about my daughter and I. I have no idea who this woman is but if someone knows her please tag her and share this if you agree!!!!”

Laliberte also posted a video of the encounter that has been viewed by 1 million so far.

The Boston Globe has reported that it received an email from Lund stating she was “terribly sorry” and that her actions were “inappropriate and wrong.”

Theresa Lund, the executive director of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative at Harvard University (Image Source: www.harvard.edu)

She further states, “I want to be accountable for my actions in a situation where I fell far short of my values and what I expect of myself. This clearly wasn’t my best moment, and I have work to do to more consistently be my best self.”

After the video and encounter went viral, all information about Lund was scrubbed from the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.

The video of the encounter  can be seen below:

Mo Barnes
Mo Barnes

Maurice "Mo" Barnes is a graduate of Morehouse College and Political Scientist based in Atlanta. Mo is also a Blues musician. He has been writing for Rolling Out since 2014. Whether it means walking through a bloody police shooting to help a family find justice or showing the multifaceted talent of the Black Diaspora I write the news.

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