Youth Council Responds to Racism

By Youth Council Member/Intern

Grace Ejiwale

Upon reading The Souls of Black Folk, it hit me that the problems Dubois talks about are the same ones treading upon the heads of African/Black Americans today. Just recently, in the city of Boston, to be exact, in Dorchester, a young Caucasian woman was accidentally shot in the head when she was at a party. It has been called a tragedy and the state, even the mayor called it a national problem. Why has it become a problem when a non resident, Caucasian woman gets shot while attending a party? It just doesn’t make any sense. Former president, George bush’s father, called the crack epidemic a tragedy because a white cop was killed, even though before his death, there were many more countless black deaths. What do you see here? I see that there is an imbalance. Just as they believed the toe nail of a jew was worth more than a black persons life, it is as no different as them indirectly saying whites are better than blacks.

How much proof does America need? How much? Should I come to her door and cry? Hell no! There has been too much crying. There has been way too much unnecessary deaths and there has been no action. The answer to what we must do is that we must take control of our own lives. By starting with rebuilding the family and church; with building the family and church we can form a structure that will already have the body of discipline. Since discipline is what we lack, there can be no such thing as an operation because everyone will not be unison, one accord.

With this type of spiritual and family reconstruction, there will be a change in how we see ourselves, how others will perceive us to be and how we will treat our community. Since the outsiders, non minority leaders, perceive us to not care about ourselves, it is the way they will treat us. If I am not wrong, don’t they already treat us like that? They have more cops in downtown Boston than they have on Blue Hill Ave. Why is that? It is because the people of that area DEMAND protection, respect and life. There is no tolerance of things when a toe is stepped out of line. It is immediately placed back in line as if nothing had. Why can’t we do that in our own community? Why is it that when a tragedy happens in our neighborhoods, homes and schools that we shrug it off like it is a way of life? It will only be a way of life if we let it. I understand that it happens all the time but even I made myself adapt to it and grow, constantly, used to it.

The educators do not care for they know where we will be and they aren’t willing to pull us back for we are too deep in fear to love ourselves. They have the noose around our necks and we scream, “Tighter! Pull it tighter!” How can you kill someone who is already dead? Not dead physically but dead mentally and spiritually. Sometimes I feel as though nothing matters at all. But then the sun that shines on my skin reminds me that God still smiles in the midst of it all. It keeps me sane in all of this madness. It gives me hope that the blood of my brothers and sisters spilt will not go in vain but it shall go towards the tears of the martyrs who died for us. The blood will be the key to the door of a revelation that shall move the black community. That day will be great because we will have nothing. They know we will have nothing. Nothing of the material but all that will be left is spiritual progression. It will be the only thing to take because man can not make soul nor can he take it.

LOVE AND RESPECT. I just wrote this piece as a reflection. I just wish to share it with you. Accept it and understand it.

Neighborhood Mini-Launch Series

Let's Bridge: Building Bridges, Connecting Dorchester

At each neighborhood launch, we ask attendees to participate in a Let's Bridge icebreaker to connect other parts of Dorchester with their community.

Here is what you should know: get connected

Harbor Point owl






    A community garden next to St. Christopher's Church

  • Bank of America wants to address recycling concerns on Columbia Point
  • Harbor Point is a great place to live and it is the largest appartment community East of the Mississippi
  • Mt. Vernon Street is preparing for a makeover
  • The Arthritis Foundation offers free Tai Chi at the Harbor Point Clubhouse
  • There is a need for programming for both youth and elderly
  • Students of the University of Massachusetts - Boston are committed to Dorchester and want to be engaged in the community
  • Geiger Gibson Community Health Center supports the Dorchester Substance Abuse Council
  • Boston Partnership For Older Adults is active on Columbia Point
  • Codman Square

    • Lorenz Island Cuisine, located at 675 Washington Street has the best homemade papaya porridge
    • #23 bus is a direct route to Codman Square, but be sure to bring a book with you for the ride
    •  Call Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corp. and Department of Neighborhood Development for affordable homes for sale in Codman Square
    • Codman Academy is such a unique partnership between a school and community health center ]
    • Codman Square is a great place for familes to Trick-Or-Treat on Halloween
    • Federated Dorchester Neighborhood House has tons of services it provides throughout Dorchester and is expanding its youth programming
    • The Medical Foundation has an amazing public health resource library that is open to the public. They also have community space available for meetings and workshops.
    • The Boston Police Department are working to put a face and a name to officers and would like to cultivate more community partnerships

    Please email Eliza Wilson at with comments, suggetions, thoughts or anything you would like to share about the website or the eblast.

    Welcome to City Spotlights DOT Neighborhood Ensemble Blog

    Take a good look.  You will see these talented faces gracing the Shubert Theatre stage on May 11, 2007 for City Spotligths.  The papparazzi was able to get a group shot after their warm-up exercises. 


    City Spotlights is a year-long initiative of the Citi Performing Arts Center SM Education Department that engages Boston communities in an exploration and celebration of their neighborhood through the performing arts. In the fall, work began with City Spotlights Interns conducting preliminary interviews and research in this year’s four featured City Spotlights neighborhoods: Chinatown, Dorchester, East Boston and Mattapan. With the support of Community Partners and Neighborhood Committees, outreach initiatives continued this spring through a new class of City Spotlights Interns, the formation of Neighborhood Ensembles, one-session Interactive Performance Workshops and the selection of Special Guest Artists from each neighborhood.


    Friday, May 11, 2007

    Citi Performing Arts Center Shubert Theatre

    265 Tremont Street

    Theatre District

    To receive complimentary tickets and/or free transportation to this event, click here.


    DOT-Shot: Capturing Dorchester A photograph submitted by Dorchester residents that show a favorite scene or place in Dorchester 

    Can you guess where this week's DOT-Shot was taken?

    click here to submit your guess

    click here to submit a DOT-Shot 

    Spring Into Service

    SCI Dorchester, The Franklin Park Coalition, Dorchester Environmental Health Coalition, and, DotWell are supporting the Dorchester Youth Council for the second consecutive year as they plan to celebrate National Youth Service Day and Earth Day by giving back to their community, organizing their peers to participate, and improving the local environment.

    To learn how you can get involved click here

    Youth Council Schedule March - April

    Flannery's Green Guide

    Hi friends. Have a look at my web site for green websites etc.
    You can get information on companies and organizations involved with solar energy, wind power and other green building methods.

    UMass Boston Home Athletic Schedule

    Hi Folks,
    Here are the varsity athletic contests that will be happening on campus at UMass Boston for the spring.

    Wed. 3/28 SALEM STATE (DH) 2:30 p.m.
    Tue. 4/3 LASELL 3:30 p.m.
    Sat. 4/7 UMASS DARTMOUTH (DH)* 1:00 p.m.
    Sat. 4/14 RHODE ISLAND COL. (DH)* 1:00 p.m.
    Tue. 4/17 SOUTHERN MAINE (DH)* 3:30 p.m.
    Thu. 4/19 LESLEY (DH) 3:30 p.m.
    Thu. 4/26 at Mass. Maritime (DH) 3:30 p.m.
    Sat. 4/28 PLYMOUTH STATE (DH)* 1:00 p.m.

    Thu. 3/29 CURRY 3:00 p.m.
    Thu. 4/5 SALVE REGINA 3:00 p.m.
    Sat. 4/7 KEENE STATE* 1:00 p.m.
    Tue. 4/10 MASS. MARITIME 3:00 p.m.
    Thu. 4/12 SOUTHERN MAINE* 3:00 p.m.
    Sat. 4/14 PLYMOUTH STATE* 1:00 p.m.

    Sat. 3/31 WESTERN CONN. STATE* 1:00 p.m.
    Tue. 4/3 JOHNSON & WALES 3:30 p.m.
    Thu. 4/12 SUFFOLK 3:00 p.m.
    Thu. 4/19 UMASS DARTMOUTH* 3:00 p.m.
    Sat. 4/21 RHODE ISLAND COLLEGE* 1:00 p.m.
    Wed. 4/25 CURRY 3:00 p.m.

    For more information about anything UMass Boston Athletics, please contact our website at

    Youth Visions Make Headlines in Dorchester

    The Dorchester Youth Council poses with Leah Bailey of the Boston Globe Foundation and Tom Kennedy of Sovereign Bank.

    With assistance, all youth have the capability to make a difference,” proclaimed 17 year old Andrew Klein from a podium at the Boston Globe during the SCI Dorchester Youth Council’s 3rd Annual Mini Grant Award Ceremony. The event, held last Tuesday night, honored the hard work of the members of the Dorchester Youth Council and the youth recipients of the 2007 Mini Grant Awards.

    The Mini Grant process awards youth-led community service-learning projects that aim to strengthen the Dorchester community. After months of drafting an application, interviewing groups, and intense deliberation, the youth council chose seven worthy projects to fund. The grant recipients span many different neighborhoods and topics from tackling negative media images, to creating a traveling peace mural, to planting gardens throughout the community. The range of interesting projects clearly shows the initiative and insight of the young people organizing in Dorchester.

    The 2007 grantees include: The Food Project’s Build a Garden Project, Close to Home Youth Team’s Acting Our Against Teen Dating Violence performances, Grover Cleveland Middle School’s Peace Week, Smith Leadership Academy’s Media Bust project, B.O.L.D. Teen’s Peace Mural project, Boston Project Ministries Safe Park’s Project, and Dorchester Bay EDC’s Youth Violence Documentary.

    To read more, click here.

    A Rewarding Route to Sustainability

    Social commerce has existed for a long time. Old-fashioned vestibule bulletin boards are an example. So is craigslist. It began as one man's online recommendations to a group of friends and mushroomed into a worldwi de electronic network of people offering everything from housing to jobs to romance. Brick-and-mortar social commerce is alive and well, too. And one recent innovation has the potential to enhance local communities, as well as help ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs) increase merchant retention.

    The new project is Boston Community Change. It rewards shoppers by splitting 4% to 6% of each retail sale three ways:

    • Cash rebate to the consumer
    • Donation to the nonprofit organization or local school of the consumer's choice
    • Allocation to one of 19 neighborhood commercial districts participating in the program.

    The percentage of retail sales devoted to the program is determined by merchants individually.

    Benefactors budding
    This loyalty program is a joint effort between Boston Main Streets, a public-private initiative established by the City of Boston to revitalize the city's neighborhood commercial districts, and the Interra Project. Brian Goodman, Neighborhood Business Manager for Boston Main Street, said the "intersection of interest for the parties involved - the merchants, the nonprofits and the consumers - has great potential. We're very excited. "It doesn't cost the merchant a penny until a customer comes into their store and uses their card, and even then, it is seamless.

    Because it is a rebate, not a discount, accounting is very, very simple for the merchant. It will just appear on their statements as a rebate." Any qualified merchant with a MasterCard-accepting POS can participate with just a 10-second setup.

    Interra was established by Greg Steltenpohl, who founded Odwalla Inc., and Sridhar Rao, who founded the e-commerce site Dee Hock, founder and Chief Executive Officer emeritus of Visa International, is Interra's Principal Advisor.

    Concerned about local communities and economic sustainability, Interra's objective is to empower consumers through understanding the greater consequences of their purchase decisions. Interra's payment card is integral to its efforts.

    In June 2006, Interra selected Santa Rosa-based Nietech Corp. to provide the retail loyalty technology platform that makes its three-way POS rebates possible.

    Technology working
    Nietech provides payment technologies that automate transaction-based philanthropy by distributing a portion of cardholders' purchases to their designated charities. Through its proprietary Nietech Administrative System (NAS), the company provides an open-system solution that requires no POS modification. NAS enables payment processors to electronically collect and distribute merchant rebates and loyalty points from multiple sources to multiple parties.

    The collaboration with Boston Main Streets is Interra's pilot program. It intends to expand nationwide. "The Boston Community Change program is actually a three-legged stool, with three partners enabling the program to occur," said Christine Koncal, Chief Marketing Officer of Nietech Corp. She credits Jon Ramer of Interra for having the vision to initiate "this social-commerce effort and to get the partners together and to build the entire solution chain, which goes beyond the Nietech-provided payment and loyalty processing to a very robust Web site that incorporates Google maps and other social-networking aspects for merchants and consumers alike."

    The planning took a year and a half. Goodman said the time was necessary to build a solid system that would meet the mixed needs of merchants, nonprofits and consumers. "Interra and Nietech have been great partners," he said. "We've built a system with great perceived value to both the nonprofits and the merchants, and the ease of participation is excellent."

    Although the card itself is swiped through a POS system, it tracks purchases using any tender - including checks or cash. Participating retailers, consumers and nonprofits can all track donations at the Web site.

    Merchants boarding
    "Getting merchants on board has been our first focus," said Goodman. "But we are working with the nonprofits and our corporate 'Main Street buddies' to get the word out to consumers, as well." Boston Main Street expects to have enlisted 500 merchants by June 2007.

    "Many processors are increasing focus on merchant retention and using merchant loyalty programs to reduce merchant churn," said Koncal. "Merchants participating in this program are universally glad to be giving back to the communities in which they do business and are being offered special pricing and packaged services by a common processor to further induce and facilitate participation.

    Though Nietech's technology is processor-agnostic, acquiring processors have seen the program's advantages in acquiring and maintaining a stable merchant base. Our loyalty platform and unique swipe technology work with any POS terminal in the market today, enabling programs to quickly launch and scale and providing merchants of all sizes with tools to measure ROI."

    For the last four years, Nietech has been managing a similar initiative, CommunitySmart, in Sonoma County, Calif. Consumers swipe the initiative's cards at more than 175 retail locations. And participating merchants donate cash back to the schools or nonprofits chosen by consumers.

    Summit State Bank is a sponsor. It has overlaid the program onto its MasterCard Worldwide debit and credit portfolio, enabling donations and consumer rewards through its bankcards, as well.

    Communities soaring
    This POS service looks like a boost for all parties involved, especially locally owned businesses, which are prime prospects for ISOs and MLSs and the communities they serve.

    "Money leaks out of a local economy many ways," Ramer said. "The terms 'leaky bucket' and the 'multiplier effect' help people grasp the impact that their purchase choices make."

    Ramer provided an example: When Wal-Mart Stores Inc. enters a market, it typically derives 84% of its business from pre-existing businesses within the local community. Studies show only $13 of every $100 spent at a Wal-Mart stays within the local community. The same $100 spent at a locally owned business retains $45 within the community. This number is greater if the products purchased are locally made, he added.

    "Connecting what matters most with our purchasing patterns gives us an easy way to act on our values," he said. "Community sustainability is an issue that affects each of us and our neighbors. Paying a fair price, as distinct from the lowest price, is a way to support economic reliance and sustainability."

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