Upham's Corner Online

Cape Verdean Community - Violence and Adult Daycare

Posted: April 21, 2011     Nancy J Conrad

Henriquez Meeting 4/21/11Cape 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 potential closing 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.
  1. 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. 

  2. Resident: Talked about the shooting (murder) on Trull Street two nights ago. 

  3. 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.  
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. "

Henriquez Meeting 4/21/11
Henriquez Meeting 4/21/11
A show of hands - How many people have been affected by violence?  Almost everyone.
  1. 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. 
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.
  1. 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?

  2. Resident:  Spoke about how important it is to be here at the adult day care center. 

  3. 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.

  4. 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 feel alive.
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."

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 program. 

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 meeting tonight." 

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."
Henriquez Meeting 4/21/11 Henriquez Meeting 4/21/11
Henriquez Meeting 4/21/11 Henriquez Meeting 4/21/11
Henriquez Meeting 4/21/11 Henriquez Meeting 4/21/11
Henriquez Meeting 4/21/11 Henriquez Meeting 4/21/11
Henriquez Meeting 4/21/11 Henriquez Meeting 4/21/11

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