Friday, June 4, 2010
City’s youth need the lifeline of summer jobs

I applaud the Globe for calling attention to the issue of youth violence (“Somewhere to turn,’’ Brian McGrory, Metro, June 2).The murders of Jaewon Martin and Nicholas Fomby-Davis are an unspeakable tragedy, and while my prayers go out to the families of Jaewon, Nicholas, and other young people we’ve lost too soon, they deserve more than our prayers — they deserve action.

Last month I spoke out on the Senate floor for desperately needed funding for summer jobs programs for at-risk youth. Creating jobs for our young people gets them off the street and teaches them skills they need to succeed in life. In prior years, this program has been the subject of proposed belt-tightening cuts in the state budget, so I want to recognize my colleagues in the Senate for at least preserving this lifeline at a time when other programs are being cut.

But the fact is, Jaewon’s and Nicholas’s deaths yell out that the status quo is still failing our children. Last year’s funding is simply not enough. We all owe it to them, to their families, and to their communities to do better. I hope their deaths will at least mark a turning point in Beacon Hill’s commitment to our youth.

Sonia Chang-Díaz
State senator Second Suffolk district Bosto