|Cape Verdean Day Care Center on Hancock Street hosted the 4th Henriquez Commitment to Community meeting on April 21, 2011.
Henriquez' office had been receiving hundreds of phone calls about the
of that center due to budget cuts so they expected a large
turnout. The final count was 268 people and almost all were from
Cape Verde. A translator assisted.
Two issues dominated the hour and a half meeting - violence in their neighborhoods and the
possible closure of the adult daycare center. Rep. Henriquez invited
people to come forward to to speak and tell their stories.
Later in the meeting Councilor-at-Large Ayanna Pressley spoke to the group.
Rep. Henriquez said that "Violence in our neighborhood is a very tough issue. I've lost friends
to violence and I'm sure everybody in this room has been affected by
violence." A show hands proved this out. "We pay taxes in this
neighborhood just like everybody else and we should get the same kind
of police support, if not more. "
- Resident: She had not been affected by violence
personally but knew of families who had lost loved ones and she felt
the same sense of loss.
- Resident: Talked about the shooting (murder) on Trull Street two nights ago.
- Resident: Spoke about wanting to come here to
the daycare center when she gets older. She wants to make sure
this place will be here for her and as a resource for
all of us in the neighborhood as we get older.
She also spoke about
the feeling of sorrow. She had a son who was of a victim of violence.
|A show of hands - How many people have been affected by violence? Almost everyone.
Rep. Henriquez talked about Cori reform. "We need to be sealing
juvenile records. We all make mistakes especially our young people."
There was a sense in a group that the Cori stigma is leading to
additional violence in the community because people cannot get work.
"Cori reform goes hand-in-hand with preventing violence." While courts
define a juvenile as anyone under 17, the group recommended a higher
age for sealing records - 19, 20 or 21.
- Resident: If a 14-year-old steals from a grocery store, it's
used against them for the rest of their lives. They are considered a
criminal. It may not even have been something they did because they
wanted to. It may have been something they did out of necessity to
provide food for their family.
Henriquez said he could "feel the passion of the speakers. This will be my passion and I will
make sure this building does not close. I understand how much it means
to you. When I go to sleep tonight, I will pray about it. When I wake
up tomorrow, I'll be working on it."
- Resident: Adult daycare is such a big part of our community so
why is the idea coming up to shut it down in the first place?
- Resident: Spoke about how important it is to be here at the adult day care center.
- Resident: She gave a testimony on how important it is to be here
at the daycare center and how much fun they have when they are here,
how terrible would be in if they had t one too spend the day at home, what
would happen if there were an emergency at home and there's no
assist them in the way they can get assistance here.
- Resident: Testimony about how important it is to keep this place
open. People were sick before or weren't in good health and didn't
have a lot of energy. By coming here they have been revived. They
|Ayanna Pressley, city councilor-at-large, addressed the group. "As an
elected official, it is our job to answer tough questions and when you
are worried, to the ease your fears. I wish that we could do that
right now but the truth is we don't have all the answers. We are
afraid, too, if you lose this building and the services and this
But we can't operate from a place of fear. You are not
weak; you are strong. You showed up tonight and we are going to show
up for you tomorrow and the next day. You are worth it. This is a
fight worth having. We will fight fiercely together on your behalf."
|With every question Rep. Henriquez emphasized the importance of
residents calling the elected officials and telling their stories "with
the same level of importance and passion that was expressed at the
He planned, he said, "to return on Friday afternoon
to assist people in making calls to the right elected officials to help
turn the funding question around."