Peace in the City at High Rock Park

Posted on July 14, 2009


The show must go on. So said the organizers of the Peace in the City Youth Fest and an anonymous neighbor when no one showed up from the city to open High Rock Tower for the event. Not knowing how they would power the PA system, organizers asked the neighbor if he would be kind enough to supply them with electricity. Fortunately for the 200 or so people present, the resident said yes.  As I followed the cord to its source to find this generous soul, I heard a young lady comment, “I always forget–there’s a lot of white people living in Lynn.” When I looked back, giggles from the cluster of teenage girls.

In all probability, the mix-up had something to do with the untimely death yesterday of former mayor Pat McManus. Yet judging from what David Gass of the Highlands Coaltion said about the former mayor, I think he would have wanted the city to follow through on its promise. “The whole idea of this gathering is to get young people involved, like Pat who became mayor at the age of 35, and his oldest daughter YiYi, who he brought to the Ford School every day to teach art to children at Camp Creativity,” a summer youth program at the school.

The fest kicked off at noon, under a hot sun, with brother-sister duo Kenny and Victoria Adinkra singing Amazing Grace in honor of Mayor McManus. City councillor at-large candidate and minister Eugene Schneeberg then said a prayer for the former mayor and the Youth fest. For the next two hours, spoken word, dance and song by Lynn youth delighted and awed the crowd. The event was MC’d by Lynn poet, rapper and performance artist Walnut Da Lyrical Genie, aka Tyrone Hawkins. Food was provided by Brothers Deli, La Fe and D’Leomar restaurants and a $25 gift certificate from  Stop & Shop was raffled off.

In what is becoming a Highlands Coalition tradition, nonprofit and community groups as well as event sponsors were invited to set up resource tables to educate festival attendees about their services and initiatives.  Those with tables included The Lynn Item, the Oasis Community Youth Group of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Neighbor to Neighbor, Lynn United for Change, the Lynn YMCA, the Food Project, Operation Bootstrap, Lynn Community Health Center, Eugene Schneeberg for at-large city councilor, Department of Children and Families (formerly DSS) and Best Beading by Meegan.

Performers included Kenny and Victoria Adrinkra, Demo Carrion, Asia Wotring, Jarrid Diaz and Asia, Divinity Dance Studios, Camp Creativity, Shayla Nessica, the dance troupe ITM, Tinh Pich, and DJ Noel Show. As time allows, I’ll post all of the performances on YouTube. LynnCam was also present to film the festivities from beginning to end.

Funding for the Youth Fest was provided by Social Capital Inc., Lynn Community Development and the Mass Service Alliance.