MCI Norfolk inmates raise money for victims of violence
A group of Massachusetts Correctional Institution (MCI) Norfolk inmates have raised money for two families unable to afford tomb stones for loved ones lost to violence in Boston and Brockton.
During a ceremony last week at Community Church, Boston City Councilor Charles C. Yancey commended MCI Norfolk inmates for helping to ease some of the pain suffered by families of homicide victims.
“This gesture I think is very significant,” Yancey said. “It’s a reminder of our own humanity and it really does challenge the rest of us.”
Yancey later presented checks to the families of Antonio Centeio, who was murdered in 2009 in Brockton, and Paula Jacobs, who was murdered in 2011 in Roxbury.
Yancey noted that he has attended close to 1,000 funerals of victims of violence during his 28 years serving on the Boston City Council. “It tears me apart every year,” he said.
A representative of Antonio Centeio’s family said Antonio’s murder triggered a difficult time for the entire family and their friends. “Any money that we get really helps us,” she said. “[Antonio] left a daughter behind and, obviously, we want the best for her and we want her to go to college.”
A representative of Paula Jacobs’ family talked about the pain the family had experienced and urged people to sign the petition and get the word out about the inmates. “It’s hard, it’s unexplainable. Words can’t really describe the feelings,” she said.
Joanna Marinova Jones, director of Press Pass TV, said she and her husband established the fund to organize the men behind bars to voluntarily donate some of their money for worthy causes.
“It’s clear that this is a need,” she said. Jones circulated a petition urging MCI Norfolk prison officials to allow inmates there to establish a permanent community fund. “If inmates can donate money, what does that say about those of us on the outside that have paychecks,” she asked.
Other participants included Bishop Filipe Cupertino Teixeira, Rev. William Barry, Isaura Mendes, Lorrain Fowlkes, Jed Hresko, family members of inmates who participated in raising funds for the tomb stones, and several family members of Antonio Centeio and Paula Jacobs.
Material from Councilor Charles Yancey’s Office contributed to this report.
State legislators schedule meeting on youth jobs
Southwest Boston Community Development Corporation (CDC) is hosting a meeting with state legislators to focus attention on the critical need for state funding of youth employment.
The meeting will take place Friday, Feb. 24, at 10 a.m. at the Boston Public Library, Hyde Park Branch in Weld Hall.
Gov. Deval Patrick has proposed $9 million to fund the Youth Works program, which supports summer jobs for high school-aged youth in nonprofit and government agencies. Hyde Park Community Resources (HPCR) and other nonprofit organizations involved with youth are asking the legislature to add an additional $3 million to support jobs between September and June.
Gov. Patrick has also proposed $2.75 million to fund the School to Career Program which develops jobs in private companies and hospitals. HPCR and its partners in advocacy are asking the legislature to increase this amount to $5 million.
HPCR and youth advocates also are asking that a portion of the proposed funding be approved in May through passage of a supplemental budget, so that agencies can begin the process of hiring youth and staff before July 1. Such a measure is critical since most summer jobs programs begin on or about July 5.
Almost one quarter of the proposed funding would go to support the Boston Youth Fund (BYF) which last summer employed well over 3,000 youth.
State resources to help support youth jobs are crucial. Many private employers do not typically employ youth in the summer (or other) months. In Boston, only 12 percent of larger companies (define as firms with more than 200 employees) hire youth.