The White House this week honored Emmett Folgert, the founder and executive director of the Dorchester Youth Collaborative, for his anti-youth violence work. He is one of twelve people the Obama administration has recognized as part of the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention. Folgert was given a “Champion of Change” award and a tour of the presidential mansion.
The Youth Collaborative serves 2,000 teens, mostly from the Fields Corner area, giving them the space for activities such as break dancing or ping pong. Help in finding employment opportunities is also available.
“If you live in what the police consider a crime hot spot, the likelihood that you will be a victim, a witness, join a gang, is 100 percent,” Folgert told the Reporter in a 2010 article. “The only way to avoid it is to provide some kind of alternative.”
“I have to say this – if I wasn’t a Bostonian, this wouldn’t have happened,” Folgert said Tuesday night from Washington. “I’m literally here because of Boston. They respect people like me. They respect community-based organizations like DYC. We have our problems but we are a very collaborative city. We do work together.”
“I’m proud leaders like these have found new and innovative ways to prevent youth violence,” Jon Carson, director of the White House’s Office of Public Engagement, said in a statement. “If we’re going to combat violence and keep our kids safe, then we need to ensure we dedicate time and manpower to the issue. These leaders have done just that, and this is what makes them true champions for their communities and our country.”
Patrick says he’d veto ‘Stand Your Ground’ bill
Gov. Deval Patrick said last week that he would veto a local version of a “Stand Your Ground” bill if it reached his desk. The legislation drew national scrutiny in the weeks following the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida. The shooter has claimed he acted in self-defense and has not been charged with a time.
The proposed bill would give individuals the right to use deadly force in defending themselves “any place that they have a right to be,” without a need to retreat.
The bill drew negative reviews last week from Dorchester lawmakers when they were asked about it by the Reporter.
Talking on WTKK radio, Patrick said the legislation would not “get past my desk,” according to the State House News Service. “We don’t need a ‘stand your ground’ bill, and I don’t entirely understand what the argument was for it in Florida.” As to the Martin case, “I would say that is troubling in that it didn’t seem to have anything to do with standing your ground,” said the governor. “It seemed more to do with a kid being in the wrong place at the wrong time or, frankly, in a perfectly appropriate place but being assumed to be in the wrong place and being stalked by a guy with a gun.”
The bill (S 661) is currently sitting with the Legislature’s Joint Committee on the Judiciary.
Teens lobby for jobs funding
With the House budget due out later this month, a slew of Dorchester groups met with state lawmakers this week to lobby for youth jobs funding. Youngsters from 12 Dorchester organizations were scheduled to meet with members of the Dorchester delegation yesterday. Lew Finfer, head of the Massachusetts Communities Action Network, said state Sen. Jack Hart and state Reps. Marty Walsh, Linda Dorcena Forry, Russell Holmes, and Carlos Henriquez were planning to attend the meeting at the Catholic Charities Teen Center on Bowdoin Street.
Finfer and the groups are seeking $12 million for youth jobs programs and $5 million for a “school-to-career” program.
The organizations include the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, the Neponset Health Center, Viet AID, the Bird St. Center, and the Dorchester Youth Collaborative, among others, which are part of a statewide “Youth Jobs Coalition.”
Curtains up for ‘Murph’ at Playwrights Theatre
Dorchester writer Catherine O’Neill’s political drama, ‘Murph,’ starts next week at the Boston Playwrights Theatre. Set in Boston on “the eve of the Clinton administration,” the play revolves around the fictional state Rep. Kevin Murphy and his acolytes. “These characters are composites of people I’ve been in political foxholes with,” O’Neill, who has worked on several local campaigns, told the Reporter last year.
The drama, directed by Brett Marks, stars James Bocock, John Geoffrion, Emily Kaye Lazarro, and Robert Pittella is slated to run from April 13 to April 28. More information is available here: argosproductions.com/murph.html.
Pressley aide Taubner ‘local campaign manager of the year’
A top aide to City Councillor At-Large Ayanna Pressley has been named ‘local campaign manager of the year’ for her work on the Dorchester politician’s reelection campaign in 2011. Jessica Taubner, who has since returned to Pressley’s City Hall office, picked up a “Pollie” award from the American Association of Political Consultants at a recent conference in Austin, Texas.
Taubner, who has degrees from Clark University and Boston University, is a former aide to the state Legislature’s Joint Committee on Health Care Financing
EDITOR’S NOTE: Material from State House News Service was used in this report. Check out updates to Boston’s political scene at The Lit Drop, located at dotnews.com/litdrop. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow us on Twitter: @LitDrop and @gintautasd.