Dorchester Bay Youth Force Rallied for Juvenile Justice at the Statehouse

Dorchester Bay Youth Force with MA State Representative Liz Miranda

Earlier this month, the Dorchester Bay Youth Force and members of the youth jobs coalition participated in a youth-led legislative meeting with Boston’s 5th District Representative Liz Miranda. The meeting was a wonderful opportunity for the young leaders to introduce themselves as active Dorchester residents whose voices also deserve to be heard.

The visit to the Statehouse was a first for many of the youth. In a private tour led by Rep. Miranda, the youth got to see the beauty and history displayed throughout the building, but it was the conversation with Rep. Miranda that truly inspired the youth. It was great to see a group of young people working together in preparation for the legislative meeting. During the meeting, each youth explained to Rep. Miranda that raising the budget for youth jobs, and expungement of juvenile records are two of many important issues that cause great strain on Boston youth today, especially youth of color.

The meeting successfully concluded with the presentation of youth testimonies, and with Rep. Miranda also sharing her personal story as a Cape Verdean teen growing up in Dorchester’s Dudley neighborhood. The chance to meet and speak with Rep. Miranda, a local activist from the same community as the youth who shares their experiences and challenges that affect them, their families and communities left our young people with the positive feeling that real change is possible.

Energized from the meeting, Youth Force joined hundreds of teens and young adults from across the state and marched on Beacon Hill at the Dreams of Our Future Youth Justice Rally. Massachusetts State Representative Ayanna Pressley, Representative Liz Miranda, and District Attorney Rachel Rollins were in attendance and heard youth personal testimonies and speeches on youth employment, housing, education, and juvenile criminal justice reform; social issues which affect them and their community daily.

I am 18, and I can’t smoke, drink or even gamble, but I am supposed to be able to handle prison?
Vante Brandao Correia, Dorchester Bay Youth Force

Also during the rally, Rep. Miranda recognized the leadership and advocacy work of Youth Force with a presentation of a formal citation on behalf of all of the Massachusetts State Representatives. The citation highlights and congratulates the youth and their work on many social justice initiatives.

Thank you, Rep. Miranda, for inspiring our youth and being the example that helps them to see themselves in powerful leadership roles positively impacting their community!

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