I write this e-mail as a friendly communication to request that you correct with all due speed the misprints published in the May 1, 2008 Bay State Banner article entitled “Youth-painted ‘peace doves’ take flight in Hub.”
There are several inaccuracies in the coverage regarding the ongoing initiative currently taking place between the community and a group of civic-minded inmates at Old Colony Correctional Center. These inmates have been attempting over a period of years to get parents, officials and youth to listen to firsthand knowledge about how they are being misled to believe that the current practices used by the state Department of Social Services, Department of Youth Services and other institutions are going to help parents keep their children out of both the court system and prison.
These incarcerated men come from different neighborhoods in Boston. They were convicted of crimes as youthful offenders and were given long sentences. Over the years, these inmates have seen the influx of youth in and out of the prison system. It’s a revolving door that leads back to prison or death. That’s why they want the youth in these neighborhoods who look up to them to see them apologize and de-glorify incarceration. They don’t want to see their family members and their friends experience — the hard way — what they are going through.
The article stated that there was a meeting that happened in 2006 with certain members of the community. However, the fact is that no meeting happened until April 1, 2008, and this was the first community meeting within a correctional institution where inmates requested everyone that was there from the community. Rev. Dickerson and others are part of these ongoing meetings.
Another inaccuracy described Kai Leigh Harriott as appearing in the film “Voices from Behind the Wall.” She is not in the film. The facts are: The person convicted of shooting Kai Leigh is in the film speaking public for the first time since she forgave him at his trial in April 2006. He is apologizing to this community, to Kai and to her family for his behavior. He thanks her and her family for forgiving him and giving him a second chance in life to live with what he did.
Because this is an anti-violence, anti-gang initiative to reduce criminal behavior and prison recidivism, the facts must be told accurately, especially from the only black-owned independent newspaper in Boston.
I think that corrections of inaccurate statements, the information already provided and future breaking news should be part of a comprehensive larger story. I am sure you’re aware that I personally reached out and gave Mr. Howard Manly a press packet concerning these inmates in anticipation of the Banner doing the story that the People’s Voice and the Metro did prior to the press conference for the Peace Conference. As the person who is doing the footwork to organize the community/prison gatherings, I feel that the corrections should be made in the next publication of the Banner, and the community would like to see a larger article printed in a near-future Banner edition.
Director of Constituent Services
Office of City Councilor Chuck Turner