I Put On For My City By Duvinson Norestant Gosdner Cherilus is a Somerville High School graduate who played for Somerville High and currently plays for the Detroit Lions. He comes back to Somerville to run a camp called the Gosdner Cherilus Camp every summer. Gosdner goes to the Mystic Projects himself to get children to attend the camp. This camp keeps children busy and is a fun activity to do. It stresses discipline and patience which benefits young people in the real world, making our community a better place.
First Breath By Duvinson Norestant A friend of mine recently had a baby and I chose this photo to show why we do what we do. We create a safer and better place for the next generation, like baby Isaiah here, to grow up where they do not have to go through the same struggles we went through. My friend is 19, she is a high school graduate, and is planning to attend college. Although she is doing well, teen pregnancy is an issue in our community. Fortunately, in Somerville we have support system for struggling teen mothers such as Teen Connection and Just a Start’s Futures for Young Parents program
Powder House By Dylan Shallow I took this picture at Powder House Park. I took it during the day. It was nice out, you can’t see it here but there were people tanning and sitting on benches enjoying themselves. However, at night this is a different place. People don’t feel as safe because there is a lack of lighting and little patrol. I think there should be more lighting to make the place safer and because people use dark parks when they think no one is watching.
Closed? By Dylan Shallow This picture shows the faded Star Market sign on the abandoned building on Broadway. Being from West Somerville, and traveling to East Somerville rarely, I had no idea that this super market closed several years ago. Because the outline of the lettering is still there, my glimpses out car and bus windows had not allowed me to realize that this community was deprived of a local super market. I had to look deeper. I now know that not only are residents of Winter Hill missing their Star Market, they now have to cross McGrath Highway to visit the Super Stop & Shop in East Somerville on the way to Assembly Square. My ignorance of this closing shows that East and West Somerville are not connected, even today. Also, having such a big unused space in the city is a waste.
Rivalry By Eric Medrano In this photo I see Bloods and MS13 tags. Both of these tags are from gangs, but that’s not all they have in common. They are both located where young children spend most of their time. The B.L.O.O.D tag is at the Healy school in a desk, I found it during summer school there. The MS13 tag is at a Perkins Park table where a lot of children play every day. With these tags, children ask questions and find out what types of gangs they are and where they hang out – which can affect a child’s mindset. Gangs shouldn’t exist but since they do, they should be more considerate about where they tag and if not, the tags should be removed immediately.
Remembering By Eric Medrano Here is a fence dedicated to 16-year-old Ryan Sullivan, who was murdered on Warwick Street in 2004. People write on this fence to show their care and respect for him, to show he is not forgotten. It shows a positive way that people honored someone lost to violence rather than retaliate. The owner of the fence allows people to continue to uphold the unofficial memorial. As a city, we should create an official memorial in memory of Ryan Sullivan. R.I.P. Ryan Sullivan.
Looking out By Eric Medrano Here, at the top of Prospect Hill, sits a boy, like many other people, who comes to this park to think and reflect. Prospect Hill not only gives a beautiful view of Somerville – it also gives Somerville a special moment in the history of the USA. The castle (not pictured) sits behind this boy and is where George Washington raised the first flag of the United States of America. One can see, from where the boy is sitting, the history of Somerville’s housing – starting with the one-family houses at the top of the hill to the three-family dwellings that used to house factory workers. Using this space as a park where children can play and grassy knoll where people can reflect makes me feel safe and free.
F* the Police? By Faith Blass This picture was taken across the street from Market Basket, near Conway Park, which is not far from the police station. This shows the lack of respect that people have for authority. It also presents the strained relationship between the residents and law enforcement in our community. What stood out to me was this seemed to belong there, as if it were a painting on a canvas. This image makes me believe that the relationship between law enforcement and people are in dire need of a change.
Keep Off By Faith Blass Teenagers will be teenagers. We hear rules and want to break them. My friend and I were having a blast defying the “Keep Off” sign. This was taken on a hot summer day, near Target. The porch is directly next to a bus, which leads me to believe my friend and I weren’t the only visitors to this stoop. Maybe that’s the reason there’s a No Trespassing sign.
Vanilla Cigarillo By Faith Blass It looked like spilled yellow paint but was really a drug issue. Hidden in the trees, between leaves, was this wrapper. Such a small wrapper, but such a big symbol. Not everyone knows this, but these cigarillos are sometimes sold individually for less than $1 each so that it’s cheap for young people and they are often reused to roll and smoke marijuana. Though I originally took this photo to show litter, it turned out to be a bigger issue related to drug abuse in our community – specifically targeted at young people.
Under My Park’s Table? By Iesha Guerrier As I was walking by Foss Park one day, I saw two men sleeping under a table with a black plastic bag containing their belongings and liquor bottles. The main reason I took this photo was because I feel these men, along with other homeless people, do not have much respect, resources, or recognition. I feel that in black and white, the photograph shows a deeper meaning – people often leave out the “gray” areas of the issue. Many civilians see people like this as a disturbance in their community but Foss Park isn’t the only place where homeless people stay. This makes me cautious about my future because if I end up homeless, living in Somerville I would like to know there is a place to go where I am safe, respected, fed, helped, and can get back on my feet, which is what Somerville needs!
Take Over By Iesha Guerrier I titled this “Take Over” because I feel this kind of discrimination is starting to take over Somerville. The stairs in this photo are adjacent to Seawall Street. Many people, including myself, use these stairs as a shortcut to go to Rite Aid Pharmacy and up towards Broadway. As you can see, the stairs are marked “Fuck you fag.” This discriminates against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community. Regardless of someone’s opinion on this subject, no one should be able to express this in public. Not only is this deliberately disrespectful, but I see the word FAG a lot – it’s not just here, it’s everywhere. Unfortunately, I called 311 to see if it could be cleaned up but these stairs are private property and unfortunately the City of Somerville has no control to paint over it.
A Place to Live By: Iesha Guerrier This is a photo of the Saint Polycarp’s Village, created by Somerville Community Corporations (SCC) on Temple Street near the Mystic Projects. The main reason I took this photo is to show the positive housing changes Somerville is going through. Somerville is becoming expensive for families, but this SCC project allows housing to be affordable, relaxing, and safe. This is extremely useful to Somerville’s residents and will create a better community.
Crossing McGrath By Iliana Rivera This photograph was taken on my way to work at Teen Empowerment. It shows a close-up account of how it feels to cross McGrath Highway. There are 24 lanes of traffic in four directions and there’s not enough time to cross the road! At any moment, 100 cars could be staring you down as you scurry across the road, most likely to end up in the median (where this photo was taken) only to wait another few minutes and do it over again. I am a healthy young woman, I struggle to think what it would be like for an elderly person, a child, or a family to cross this road – which many people have to do in order to visit the supermarket or Sullivan Station. I believe that this should be changed, either the cross walk should allow more time for pedestrians or some of the lanes on McGrath Highway should be taken out.
Graduation By Iliana Rivera This is a photograph of my diploma, the culmination of education in the City of Somerville. This diploma represents the vast opportunity that an education can create – the doors that I intend to open because of knowledge and preparation. However, this photo also represents the years of pain and suffering that many young people feel while walking the halls of Somerville High School. Four years in this building, with 2,000 other high school students who battle daily against peer pressure, teen pregnancy, gang violence, and financial problems can build you or break you. Luckily, SHS is full of resources like Teen Connection, clubs and resources, and teachers who want young people to succeed.
Dancing in the Park By Judcine Felix This picture shows the side of Somerville that’s changing. This was taken at Grimmons Park, where my siblings enjoy going every day – and they love it. Look at the look of pure joy on my brother’s face as he dances in the sprinklers. Not all parks in Somerville are constructed this nicely and unfortunately, Grimmons Park is too far for some families and unknown to others. By having more parks with activities that are accessible to all ages (everyone loves sprinklers) we can get children more active and interactive, which will further change Somerville into a welcoming community for all.
No Ball Playing By Judcine Felix North Street Projects, also known as the Clarendon Hill Projects, is a place that is neglected by our community. This housing development lacks a fundamental quality, a safe place for young people to play. The only park in the area is located in the projects is unsafe and unsanitary for children. Because they only have an unsafe park, the youth in this community resort to playing on restricted areas – or, in some cases, refusing to play outside at all because of their fear and lack of resources.
Broken Benches Baking in the Sun By Judcine Felix These are the benches in the Clarendon Hill Projects. The benches have been like this since I lived there as a child and they create an unsafe place for people. It deprives people, young and old, of the social community feeling that should be there. This is especially relevant when comparing the Clarendon Hill Projects with the Mystic Projects, where I live now. In the Mystics, there are people everywhere, it’s a community. Here in Clarendon Hill, no one spends time together or outside. By fixing the benches Somerville could open up the opportunity for a safe community space outside. Further, once the benches are fixed, trees could be added, play spaces could be renovated, and people would feel more invested in their community.
All Smiles By Judcine Felix This picture was taken at Teen Empowerment’s first annual Game Night. Teen Empowerment provides a safe place for people of all ages to come together and interact with one another. Somerville needs more places where families, especially teens, can go and feel safe.
Take My Hand By Judcine Felix After a long day of work or school, it’s always great to come home to my loving family. This photograph captures the love and support that families bring to Somerville. This support is possible because of the many resources that my family has been given and sought out in times of need. With eight children, it’s not easy. However, as Somerville changes, and prices for rent and property values skyrocket, many families I know cannot afford to live in Somerville anymore. By providing more affordable housing, Somerville will maintain the family feel that makes this community special.
Broken Down By Jules Cleophat 24B North Street, in the Clarendon Hill Projects, is where this photograph was taken. In the picture, there is a broken light bulb and a rusty frame around it. This is a safety hazard because it looks like it could fall down at any moment and it’s located right above the entrance, which shakes with every open and close of the door. This shows how the Clarendon Hill Projects are neglected, especially in comparison to the Mystic Housing Projects in East Somerville. We could fix this problem by cleaning the property, fixing the doors and windows, replacing the benches (pictured by Judcine Felix), and renovating the play areas – then maybe Clarendon Hill Residents would also feel a pride in their space.
Look Down By Jules Cleophat This photograph shows a light pole that was recently under construction, I saw it across the street from Trum Field. However, since the work was done, nothing else has been done to close it off to residents like me. This is a safety hazard because electrical sparks could appear, and if it rains it might ruin the streetlight to which these wires are connected. Further, children might become curious and play with the wires on the ground while their parents are not looking.
Kelly Park By Jules Cleophat This is a safe park, day and night, and represents a positive change in Somerville. For 10 years, young people, especially skaters, have fought long and hard for input into the development in the park. It worked! This park features stickball, basketball, tennis, and skateboarding elements. Having all of these features creates a feeling of community – people want to play here. However, it also creates several problems because there can be too much going on at once. You don’t want the balls to hit the skateboarders do you? Regardless of this, it really shows that our city is making progress and is willing to ask the residents what they want to come with the changes.
The End of the Sidewalk By Kevin Ma The Pearl Street Market is actually a great resource for teens, if they’re hungry or thirsty after school and are in need of a snack. Due to the location of the store and past experiences, it’s too bad that I don’t feel safe enough to walk in and buy myself an Arizona iced tea, especially at night. When I walk down Walnut Street, the smell of dog poop overwhelms me. Along with the terrible smell, the street is usually crowded with people who are up to no good, especially at this intersection with Pearl Street. I have even witnessed a sketchy van pull up to the store and unload a group of five older men disguised in baggy hoodies and sweatpants. They then proceeded into the store, in my guess, to rob it. To make this sidewalk, which many students use after school, more safe, we can simply clean it and renovate the store. If the store is nicer and has more security, people wouldn’t dare robbing it. This would ultimately lessen the amount of crime th
Goosebumps By Kevin Ma Although it’s hard to tell, this is a picture of the bridge on Gilman Street. People constantly use this way to enter East Somerville and get to Capuano, including me. Walking under this bridge is like risking your life. It’s in complete darkness. Piles of old junk, such as furniture and beer bottles, hide under these shadows. No way whatsoever, does this present Somerville in a safe and positive way. More lights, other than that dim bulb, need to be installed under this bridge and a cleanup is definitely necessary.
Under My Bridge By Kevin Ma If it’s inhabitable by pigeons, then it also must be inhabitable for us. Here lies a path that many use to cross over to Assembly Square mall, a plaza that’s right across the street from my home. Plastic bags, dirt, bottles, and all types of nasty little creatures infest this underpass. Such unsanitary conditions exist because of the fact that there is no trash can. People would then just litter, so placing a trash can there will help make it cleaner. Also, having someone patrol the area to increase safety, clean up, and stop graffiti would be a bonus.
Dance It Out By Sergio Estany This picture shows a part of the Second Annual Growing Villen Voices Open Mic at the Community Growing Center in August 2012. It became a dance party when the DJ played “Teach Me How to Dougie,” people flew to the stage to show their talents. By keeping the environment fun and welcoming, people were willing to participate. The vibe was friendly and family-oriented while also being able to talk about tough issues like domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, gang violence, and the need for resources for young people.
Anxiously Awaiting By Sergio Estany The youth in this picture sit anxiously waiting to perform at the Second Annual Growing Villen Voices Open Mic at the Community Growing Center in August 2012. This open mic was organized in collaboration with Groundwork Somerville, Books of Hope, and the Center for Teen Empowerment to highlight issues and talent within the youth community. These are the types of events that bring about personal and social change. They should continue, however, with our economy in recession programs like this are in dire need of financial resources and are on the brink of deteriorating themselves – there are rumors that both Groundwork Somerville and Books of Hope may not have youth programs in the future because of these financial issues. This should be stopped! These programs give youth jobs, personal development, and a safe place to spend time.
Brick Wall to Nothing By Stephanie Santiago This is a burnt down building next to Broadway Breakers. Inside there is broken glass, beer bottles, alcohol containers, and trash. This is a forgotten place where terrible things can happen, especially at night. This building is on the left side of the street when I walk down Broadway to Sullivan Station. I have personally passed this building many times, wondering why nothing has been done, and ultimately speeding up to be safe and spend less time around it. This building should be taken down and rebuilt in a way that would benefit the residents of this city.
Quality Time By Theo Rich This photograph captures a conversation between a police officer on detail at the Art Beat Festival and an attendee of the event. Police – citizen communications are vital to community safety. A youth organizer (YO) during this project illustrated this while taking pictures at the North Street Park. There was a group of adult males in the park that created an intimidating presence. However, the YO noticed a police car across the street and felt that the officer made the situation safer than it would have otherwise been. Under this premise the YO attempted to take a picture of the squad car, but, seeing this, the officer in the car came out and approached the YO in a hostile manner appearing visibly annoyed. The YO went from feeling safe to unsafe in matter of moments all because of a lack of communication. Had the officer known that the YO was working on a project that, in fact, was collaborating with the Somerville Police Department, this misunderstanding c
A Walk in the Park By Theo Rich This photograph depicts Iliana Rivera on a median at the I-93 underpass/on-ramp between Foss Park and McGrath Highway and Assembly Square. The construction sign behind her portrays a person walking, which captures the irony that a government sign would show someone walking in that area even though there is no means to cross the road in that vicinity. People frequently cross at this point and they face a slew of difficulties: no sidewalk, no crosswalk, no pedestrian light/stop sign, and traffic that often travels at a dangerous speed.
Chester Ave By Tina Matteo This picture was taken on Chester Avenue. This is a Somerville street that is dark, infested with rats, and located near train tracks. Further, many high school students use this road to get to and from school – because of the rats, the darkness, and the train tracks they feel unsafe.
Black Stairs By Tina Matteo These black stairs are on the side of the Healy School, entering the Mystic Projects. Many children use these stairs to travel to and from school. During the day and night people litter, there is glass everywhere, and no one feels safe using these stairs. It’s unsanitary. Especially scary, it is dark at night. To make travel safer, lights should be added and the stairs should be cleaned regularly.