Teen activists give thanks
By Winelle Felix
Baby blue walls and dent in ceilings held a cozy Thanksgiving Dinner at the Somerville Teen Empowerment with youths 14 to 21 165 Broadway Ave.
“At Somerville Teen Empowerment we approach teen issues at Somerville in positive ways,” said Nelly Thermitus, a 19 year-old employee. “We allow them ways to express their talents through activities like rapping theater and spoken words. it helps them workout the negativity from the cops.”
This safe heaven for Somerville youths keeps violence to a minimum, said organizers.
Teen Empowerment director Marlon Raudehal said the group works to combat gang violence in Somerville and heal wounds related to the fatal Nov. 2 shooting of 21-year-old Matthew Krister and serious wounding of Detective Mario Oliveira.
Good food, he said, can be an early step.
“We want to keep people in here, away from the negativity out there,” he said before the main course was served. “Food brought us together today, the next step is to make this community a safer place.”
Around the long make-shift dinner table that hosted 15 teenage activists, they each belted things that they are grateful for. The teens counted their family, emotions and the center among things to be thankful for.
As for the future the youth were hopeful. The teens wrote on a paper leaf what they wanted in the future, after which they tacked the fake leafs on the beams of the building. Tacking these leaves reminded them that their roots are in Somerville but their family ties reach across the globe.
These hopeful plights are to remind them that working for a better community without violence doesn’t remain at home but it is a plight to lessen inner cities violence all over the world. “Violence is happening around us but we have each other,” Raudehal said.