A documentary screening about police in schools, a discussion about government sponsored racism in housing, and the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program
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Justice for Flavia hosts movie screening
The organization Justice for Flavia, together with the Somerville Theater, is holding a screening of the film “On These Grounds,” on April 11. The movie is an award winning documentary by Garrett Zevgetis that examines the topic of policing in schools. According to a press release, “The film investigates a viral video of a white school police officer in South Carolina pulling a Black teenager from her school desk and throwing her across the floor. Zevgetis traces the historical origins of school policing and shines a light on students’ efforts to build safer schools without police.”
The film screening coincides with Somerville’s own debate about whether police should be permanently removed from schools. Flavia Peréa is the mother of a young child whom police were called in on when he allegedly “inappropriately” touched another student; the group Justice for Flavia has fought hard to prove that calling in cops was entirely unnecessary. Peréa has stated that she believes police were brought in partially because her son is a student of color.
“Policing children in school presents a health and safety threat to children and families of color,” said Peréa. “Creating and sustaining equitable learning environments that inspire and nurture the potential in all children requires removing police from dedicated spaces of learning. Calling the police on my son in first grade harmed him and our family deeply. No child should go through what my son has gone through. No family should have to try and fix the many layers of damage caused by school policing the way my family has had to do.”
“While the film was inspired by an especially egregious case, this issue isn’t about good cops or bad cops” says the Honorable Jay Blitzman, who recently retired as the First Justice of the Juvenile Court for Middlesex County, “it’s about looking soberly at the data and asking what makes schools safe and supportive places for students to learn. And what data from around the country tell us is that stationing police in schools doesn’t actually make schools safer but contributes to the school to prison pipeline for students of color and students with disabilities.”
Discussion of government sponsored racism in housing
How did federal, state and local governments intentionally create segregated housing in the 20th century, and how are we still living in that racially divided America?
Find out by viewing the short movie “Segregated by Design,” April 9, 11:00 a.m. at the Somerville Public Library. The showing is free and open to the public.
Following the movie, attendees can take part in a discussion led by Rona Fischman, a local realtor and member of the Somerville Fair Housing Commission.
“Across the country, April is Fair Housing Month,” Fischman said. “So this is the perfect time to learn about how—both before and after the Fair Housing Act was passed in 1968—governments that were supposed to combat discrimination were actually enforcing and perpetuating discrimination.”
“If we really want to live in one nation, indivisible, we have to know this history,” she added. “It is still separating us from one another today.”
“Segregated by Design” is based on the prize-winning book “The Color of Law,” by Richard Rothstein, said Kerry O’Donnell, Adult Services Head at the Somerville Public Library. A discussion of the book is being planned for later in April.
“We are proud to collaborate with the Fair Housing Commission to bring this program to Somerville,” O’Donnell said.
Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program
All Somerville high school students are invited to apply to the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program. Applications are due by April 29, at 12:30 p.m., and applicants will be interviewed the week of May 9.
According to a media release, “Through this annual program, the City of Somerville hires teenage participants to work in the Parks and Recreation Department, Somerville Public Libraries, and other City offices. As part of her First 100 Days Agenda, Mayor Katjana Ballantyne has expanded this year’s program to include jobs focused on climate justice for the first time, within the Department of Public Works.”
Applicants must be Somerville residents, at least 14 years of age, and enrolled in high school. Summer jobs require approximately 20 hours per week for six weeks starting in June, though actual schedules will vary by employer. Some jobs require an orientation before the program begins. Some positions can be done remotely or in a hybrid of remote and in-person work.
Apply online at somervillema.gov/summerjobs, or pick up a printed application in the Human Resources Department at City Hall, 93 Highland Avenue.
For more information, contact Community Services Manager Javier Torres Trinidad at 617-625-6600 ext. 2406 or email@example.com.
Somerville launches mattress and box spring recycling
Mayor Katjana Ballantyne has announced that the City has launched mattress and box spring recycling, which began on April 4. The service is free and available to all residential households that have City managed trash collection. The City has hired Boston Carting to collect the mattresses and box springs and Green Mattress Recycling to arrange for the recycling. According to a media release, “Foam and fabric will be made into new foam and textiles. Metal will be sent to scrap yards. Wood will be converted to mulch and other materials. Somerville was awarded a Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) Sustainable Materials Recovery Program Municipal Grant of up to $46,406 to offset costs.”
“As we focus on how to reduce our impact on the planet, making sure we recycle to conserve resources and reduce landfill is just common sense. And for mattresses in particular, because many are made with fossil-fuel-based products, recycling them helps reduce carbon emissions and gets us closer to our Net-Zero Carbon Negative climate goals,” said Ballantyne. “I want to commend MassDEP, our Office of Sustainability and Environment, and our Department of Public Works for moving this effort forward. I look forward to our residents doing their part to schedule pickups as needed.”
For more information on recycling in Somerville, please visit www.somervillema.gov/MattressRecycling.
Volunteers for Patriots’ Day and Docent Program
The City of Somerville is looking for volunteers who will help out with Patriots’ Day Colonial Fair, to be held on April 18 at Foss Park. Setup will begin at 9 a.m., and the Fair lasts from 10–11 a.m. In addition, the City and the Somerville Museum are seeking volunteer docents who will lead free public tours at historic Somerville sites from May through October. Tours are offered twice monthly on weekends and Thursday evenings at the Milk Row Cemetery on Somerville Avenue, the Prospect Hill Tower above Union Square, and the Old Powder House in Nathan Tufts Park. Period clothing can be provided.
For either of these opportunities, please contact Brandon Wilson, Executive Director for the City’s Historic Preservation Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-776-3938.
This article is syndicated by the Somerville Wire municipal news service of the Somerville News Garden project of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism.
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Shira Laucharoen is assistant director of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism and assistant editor and staff reporter of the Somerville Wire.