On Thursday, Feb. 20 Revere Youth in Action (RYiA) co-sponsored I Have A Future’s Youth Justice Rally at the Massachusetts State House which drew together 200 young people from across the state. Over 20 young people from Revere Youth in Action and Revere CARES Youth Health Leadership Council (YHLC) attended the rally and met each member of the Revere delegation.
RYiA youth organizer Chaimaa Hossaini, 19, helped kick off the rally in Boston Common, stressing the need for increased funding for youth jobs in next year’s state budget. Specifically calling for an increase of the YouthWorks program to $19.3 million. Saying “YouthWorks jobs help young people by providing opportunities for them to learn and build their futures.” The YouthWorks summer jobs program in Revere enables young people to work for the City and community organizations while receiving workforce training.
The young people then marched through downtown Boston to the State House to hear from youth speakers and state representatives in the Great Hall. One of the speakers was Somaya Laroussi, 19, an organizer with RYiA, who spoke out for environmental justice, “Look around us right now. How many of us live near the airport, trash incinerators, polluted creeks or other toxic areas? This may have been the earth that we inherited, but by being here today, we are refusing to let this be the same one we pass on to the next generation.”
After the Great Hall, RYiA and YHLC met with Speaker Robert DeLeo and Rep. RoseLee Vincent. At the meeting Revere youth shared their positive experiences with the YouthWorks program, thanked DeLeo and Vincent for their support of the Student Opportunity Act, that will bring millions more of funding to Revere Public Schools, and discussed climate action. Savannah Hart, 20, a RYiA leader summarized the meeting, “As young leaders of color and immigrant youth from Revere, we know it is important for our Representatives to hear from us not only about issues impacting us in our city, but also impacting youth across the state.”
The day ended with a meeting with Sen. Joseph Boncore and a discussion of jobs, climate action, and his HOMES Act (S.526), a housing rights bill that is supported by the youth coalition. The young people also thanked him for his support of the Student Opportunity Act.
“It was powerful to see the YHLC and other Revere youth advocating for their rights to our elected leaders. I’m proud that they were part of the rally and are speaking up for youth justice and action.” said Debora Guimaraes LICSW, Revere CARES Youth Coordinator.
The other legislation being supported by the I Have A Future youth justice coalition included bills on environmental justice (H.826), juvenile justice (H.3420), and youth against gun violence (H.3780).