If you can still spare a moment after calling Senator Scott Brown, call Senator Kerry and thank him for making our young people’s lives a priority. This year in Boston, 27 people have been murdered. But this is not just a Boston problem. As a youth worker and organizer, it is startling and heartbreaking to me how many young people that I work with in Boston, Worcester and some smaller cities and towns are resigned that losing friends and loved ones is just the way it is.
For those of us that work with young people, especially in urban communities, the violence is cacophonous, and so much more so for the youth themselves. As disheartening as it is to have a sixteen-year-old tell me that she feels that it’s better to get used to it, I’m encouraged by how many young people have been fighting for access to jobs and opportunity over the past several months. Young people from Boston, Worcester, Chelsea, Holyoke, Lowell, and other cities and towns across the state have converged on the State House multiple times to lobby policy makers to save youth jobs. More recently, the Roxbury Environmental Empowerment Project sold “Sour Scott Lemonade” to raise money for youth jobs and deliver a message to the Senator.
On March 19, Senator Brown voted down an amendment sponsored by John Kerry that would have funded approximately 6,700 teen summer jobs in Massachusetts. Teens have estimated that it will take nearly 25 million cups of fresh lemonade at 50 cents per cup to recoup the funds from Senator Brown’s “No” vote.
But young people are often the first on the chopping block and last to be heard or taken seriously in matters of policy. That’s why I urge you to make a call and let the Senator know that you vote and you support youth jobs. We can save youth lives, taxpayer dollars (yes, in the long run, investing in youth jobs will cut costs of public assistance and incarceration), and our communities from being held hostage by senseless violence and hopelessness.