Youth activists rally for juvenile justice reform at State House

Boston Statehouse

Youth activists from across the state rallied in Boston on Thursday.   

The ‘I Have a Future’ movement is asking for legislative help to prevent youth incarceration and provide more jobs for young people in Massachusetts. 

More than 100 youth activists gathered in Boston to share the message of their statewide campaign. Participants said Thursday’s event was to draw attention to the needs of young residents in the Commonwealth.  

“I believe that every youth has the right to have a job as long as they’re willing to work for it, and as long as they’re willing to work for it every youth can have a job and this really is just kinda that idea,” said Dimas Villanueva, a youth leader at Chelsea Collaborative. 

On top of youth employment, the group is asking lawmakers to support their juvenile justice reform proposal, which aims to close the school to prison pipeline, a path that affects many low-income residents. 

“I’m just here to support our youth and to lift up this agenda of records being expunged, of the age being raised so youth are not serving time with adults and also to advocate for youth jobs,” said Representative Ayanna Pressley. 

The group of youth activists started their rally in the Boston Common, then went through downtown crossing and ended at the Massachusetts State House.   

As part of the ‘Dreams of Our Future’ rally, youth activists met with lawmakers to discuss their $15 million requests for more youth programs in the state.   

The strong message they sent out to legislators stated, “We believe in the power of youth to change the Commonwealth and the country for the better.” 

The group admitted that they dream big, but they said they will move mountains to make their dreams a reality. 

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