ESSAY WINNER: Youth, Arts, and Environmental Justice: Key Topics For Framingham’s First Mayor To Address

Editor’s note: The Framingham Homework Center, at the Framingham Public Library, held its 4th annual essay contest. The topic this year, decided by the teens on the Homework Center’s advisory board, was what three areas should Framingham’s first mayor focus her attention towards? Students were asked to write 500 words or less.

Two middle schools students and one high school student each won $100 for best essay. Framingham Mayor Yvonne Spicer announced the winners, who were chosen by a blind committee. There was a tie for middle school essay winner. Each of the winners then read their winning essay to the mayor and the crowd.

Below is the winning essay by Framingham High junior Isabella Petroni. It is published as written. (And yes, she is my daughter).

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Racism, sexism, and discrimination were recurring themes in 2017.

Framingham transitioned from the largest town in 2017 to the Commonwealth’s newest city in 2018.

By electing an African-American woman as its first-ever Mayor, Framingham voters spoke clearly that racism and sexism are not welcomed in our new City. Now is the time for our Mayor to continue that theme, and address adultism.

Adultism is defined as prejudice discrimination against young people. I have heard often my opinion doesn’t matter, as I am too young to understand. But despite my age, I have seen and experienced a lot in my 16 years. I have thoughts and opinions, and so do my fellow teens. We deserve a seat at the table with Framingham’s First Mayor Yvonne Spicer. Although, I was not allowed to vote in this past election, it doesn’t mean I don’t have ideas that can benefit our new city. The voice of youth must be heard in our City.

I call for the Mayor to create a youth council, just like there is a Council on Aging. There are numerous issues facing our generation – including but not limited to academic stress, college affordability, and the lack of transportation for non-driving teens. A Framingham Youth Council would provide teens a way to voice our concerns and offer solutions on how to fix problems and issues we, and our families, deal with on a weekly, if not daily, basis.

Secondly, I want the Mayor to address the arts and culture in Framingham.

Recently, Framingham struggled to keep Danforth Art here. Many of the artists from Fountain Street Studios have yet to find a new home also after being evicted  from the Bancroft, and the Amazing Things Arts Center is struggling to stay open. We need this City to embrace artists of all fields.

Mayor Spicer only needs to look to the youth to see the arts – both visual and performing – flourishing in Framingham, under the direction of Donna Wresinski.

I would love for Mayor Spicer to find a way to keep the arts in the spotlight in our City. I propose a public art project in which all the signal boxes in Framingham would be painted by youth and professional artists in town. I would love to coordinate this project.

Finally and most importantly, the Mayor needs to focus on environmental justice issues on the south side of Framingham and preserve open space throughout the city. General Chemical needs to be cleaned up, so that students at Wilson Elementary have nothing to fear when they are on the playground. Mary Dennison Park needs to be cleaned up, and become a gathering place for families. There should be a spray park and a new handicapped accessible playground equipment.

Mayor Spicer needs to make one of her top priorities the importance of the environment in our everyday lives. With an ever-changing Earth, it is imperative that Mayor Spicer and her administration not only regulate open space usage, but demand that properties are cleaned up.

Framingham Source Editor Susan Petroni

Susan Petroni Framingham Source Editor Email: editor@FraminghamSource.com Phone: 508-315-7176

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