An Open Letter to Our Community
Facing a budget shortfall of over $3.1 billion, lawmakers in Massachusetts are seeking to close the gap by raising new revenue and cutting spending for many programs.
As youth, we know that these state dollars fund programs that improve our lives.
Cutting these programs will mean less money to prevent and deal with violence in our communities and fewer opportunities for us to receive the mentoring and academic assistance that helps us succeed.
We would like to thank State Rep. Sanchez and State Senator Chang-Diaz for meeting with us and listening to us voice our concerns about the proposed cuts.
But that’s not enough—we need you to raise your voice as well. Here is what you can do to help:
1. Department of Public Health Youth Violence Prevention Grants support prevention programs in ‘hot spots’ of gang and criminal activity and aim to stop the cycle of violence in these neighborhoods. Please call your State Representative and State Senator and encourage them to level-fund DPH grants at $3.5 million so we can continue to combat the spread of violence.
2. Mentoring Matching Grants help pair youth in our community with adult mentors who provide us with homework assistance, tutoring, and college and career counseling. Please call your State Representative and State Senator and encourage them to level-fund Mentoring Matching Grants at $520,443 so that we can be prepared to succeed in college and beyond.
3. Youth Reach Grants through the Massachusetts Cultural Council provide much-needed arts opportunities to hundreds of youth in our community. Please call your State Representative and State Senator and encourage them to level-fund Youth Reach Grants at $549,459 so that we can continue to express ourselves.
3. Spending cuts are only half the story—lawmakers will be looking for new revenue to help make up the budget shortfall. To help fully fund programs for us and hundreds of young people like us, please call your State Representative and State Senator and encourage them to support new state level taxes, including a meals tax, hotel tax, and telecommunications tax. Please also encourage your legislators to allow Boston to raise additional revenue through local taxes.
We have spoken—now we’re asking that you speak for us!
The Youth of the Hyde Square Task Force