GreenRoots’ Environmental Chelsea Organizers (ECO) Youth Crew engaged more than 100 youths from Chelsea to come together to envision the future of the Chelsea Creek last month. “The City of Chelsea will be working towards a plan for our waterfront which will be designed and promoted throughout the city,” stated ECO organizer Shakeya Perkins, “and this plan may involve many voices from Chelsea, but ECO’s concern was about the youth.” ECO wants the youth of Chelsea to be able to have their input into this plan, especially those who live in the adjacent waterfront neighborhoods. In order to ensure the youth’s engagement, ECO devoted time into organizing their first event called the Chelsea Creek Youth Assembly, which occurred on Nov. 10 at the GreenRoots HQ.
ECO Organizer Abraham Moreira told the participants, “We organized this to get your ideas to present them to the City Manager to let him know what Chelsea youth want for the future of our city.” The day began after lunch with youth piling into the GreenRoots’ office, chatting away and eager for the day’s activities. Shortly thereafter ECO gave an environmental justice presentation to their peers, encouraging them to chant “Who’s Creek? Our Creek!” in order to kick off the day. Workshops began afterward through which the youth were able to learn about their Creek and envision what they want to see on it with the help of Dan and Marie Adams, from the Landing Studios, and Emma Hahn, a landscape architect from Green City Growers.
About 100 youths attended and were all able to take ownership of their Creek and design how and what they would like to see on the waterfront in the immediate near future. ECO organizer Stephanie Alvarado stated, “Youth are not the future, we are the present, so our voices must be heard.”
The youth participants were also able to participate in many other activities such as Art with Activism led by Chelsea artist Silvia Lopez Chavez, in which they were able to create signs that will be displayed on fences around the city as a beautification project. Another activity was the compost station where the youth learned about worm bins and how to create their own at home. The final activity involved the New England Aquarium where the youth were able to see what kind of marine life live in the Chelsea Creek. That marine life included things like horseshoe crabs, hermit crabs and mussels.
During the last hour of the assembly, ECO showed the movie “The North Pole” to show how gentrification affects people in Chelsea and how people should come together to fight injustice. For more information on this Assembly and other ECO activities, please contact the youth organizers directly at (617)466-3076 or via email at chelsea.eco.youth@gmail. com.