Dorchester resident Royal Nunes recently received the Special Recognition Award for Activism at the 2008 Massachusetts Victims Rights Awards for the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance. The award supports a survivor of crime who has transformed the negative experience of victimization into positive change and healing by promoting the rights of victims of crime.
A graduating senior at the City on a Hill Charter Public School, Nunes, 17, also facilitates workshops, creates and develops interactive curriculum on gentrification, and serves as the youth coordinator of the Youth Outreach Weekends (YOW) program at The City School, located in Dorchester. He is also participating in his third year of organizing and fundraising to take local youth leaders to New Orleans to share in rebuilding work.
Nunes’ accomplishments include serving as a Bank of New York Mellon CityACCESS Teen Ambassador to the City of Boston, coordinating YOWs for over 375 high school-aged youths from a variety of private, public, suburban and urban high schools, setting up community service sites at 17 different community based organizations, preparing agendas and activities, and training adult and youth staff.
He has even assisted in the hiring of adult and youth City School staff, including key administrators like the school’s director of programs. On top of that, he has contributed hundreds of hours of community service to numerous nonprofit organizations around the Greater Boston area.
Nunes has experienced the damaging effect that violence can have on a community firsthand. He recently lost a cousin, who was killed in Brockton, and he was a close friend to several young people murdered last year. While he admits he has at times thought about retaliating against those responsible for the tragic losses he has suffered, Nunes says he knows and understands the possible outcomes of his actions. Instead, he chooses to act as a role model, intervening in situations where young people might easily turn to violence as a way of coping with their own pain and working to defuse that violent tension.
“Royal embodies the mission of The City School and has been an asset to his community,” said The City School in a statement congratulating him.