Duvinson Norestant played host Dr. Duvy in Saturday night’s Late Night with Teen Empowerment show. Duvy’s main message to the audience was, “Every youth makes a mistake, but you have to have the desire to get back up, and it’s never too late to get back up.”
By Pamela Cyran
Late Night with Teen Empowerment, held April 6, 2013, was the kick-start to Peace Month, which will last throughout April. In the form of a late night talk show, Somerville youth addressed community issues through theater, music, and spoken words (poetry and speeches). Many shared personal stories.
The Center for Teen Empowerment is an organization with a mission to empower youth and promote social change. The center employs youth to plan and promote community events and to raise awareness of community issues. They have multiple locations, two in Roxbury, one in Dorchester, one in Somerville, and one out-of-state in Rochester, N.Y..
Director of External Relations Stephanie Berkowitz, calls the youth “social change agents.” According to her, the city of Somerville struggles with violence, bullying, substance abuse, and especially the youth/police relationship.
“What are the strengths youth have? What are their talents?” said Berkowitz. “We believe they could be the solution to those problems.”
Mayor Joseph Curtatone told the audience at Late Night with Teen Empowerment, “These aren’t youth problems, they’re community problems.” The show kicked off the 7th annual Peace Conference. Teens addressed community issues through music, theater, and spoken words (poetry and testimony).
In this heated debate, 10 Cent (David “Teddy” Thelemaque) and Dijah (Alexis Lopez) argued over what is “real music,” while 10 Cent’s “girl” Apple (De-Anna Ramos) schmoozed with Late Night’s security guard (Manuel Santiago).
“I am who I’m meant to be, not what they imagine me to be,” said Alexis Lopez in her spoken words titled “It’s YOLO.”
De-Anna Ramos tells the story of her perseverance in “Don’t Give Up Hope.” Ramos called protective services on her abusive and drug-addicted mother, and battled her own addictions. “No matter what obstacles you face right now, know that you are not the only one,” she said. “I still have hope for my mother.”
In an emotional poem titled “Blooming Warrior,” Iesha Guerrier tells the story of her bullying. She was called “loud and ghetto” and “fat and worthless” by not only her peers, but by people who were supposed to educate her. “But who am I?” asked Guerrier. “I’m a blooming warrior!” The audience cheered her on.
In this emotional confrontation between brother and sister, Octavius (Joshua Ojo) hates his sister Marie (Judcine Felix) for putting their mother in a psych ward. Their soccer coach (Danny McLaughlin) tries to be the mediator, but Octavius has joined a gang of drug dealers that he calls his “new family.” Coach told Marie to never give up.
At the end of the show, there was a time for healing. Roses were available for dedication. Illiana Rivera is the first to dedicate hers after Tina Matteo kicks off the healing segment of the show.
Members of the audience of all ages were encouraged to come and dedicate a rose to their loved ones. Many were dedicated to parents, grandparents, siblings and cousins – The influential ones in their lives. There were also roses for those that are no longer among us today.
~Photos by Pamela Cyran