Governor Deval L. Patrick
Youth Violence Prevention Week Remarks
March 31, 2008
As Delivered

We know that we must be firm and sure in law enforcement. But we also know that the smart counterpart of that kind of investment is to be firm and smart in how to prevent violence in the first place. How to give constructive alternatives to guns and gangs in the first place.

You heard about Senator Petruccelli and the wonderful new occasion in his family. His wonderful baby, boy right? Just born? He is like any other parent. He holds that child not imagining that something terribly wrong could happen. At 16, 17-years-old, like any parent - and Reverend Brown you know what I am talking about - we hold those children imagining and hoping for the best.

Parents in neighborhoods that are called good neighborhoods and parents in neighborhoods that are called wrongly bad neighborhoods, wish for the same thing for their young people. Safety. Security. Ambition.Opportunity. A constructive alternative. And so we have to start talking about and acting as if we understand as the reverend so aptly put it.

These are our children. Not good children and bad children. Our children. All those programs between the Shannon grants and the summer and year round job programs, the peer counseling, the community policing the after school initiatives. We have proposed a 250 percent increase in our budget and the money we spend on violence prevention. And that is very, very important.

But now you have to go and urge that it be enacted. Go and talk to members of the legislature. Tell them stories, don't make this just about statistics. Tell them what you've seen. What you've heard. Tell them what you're worried about. Make it personal…because these are good human beings trying to make choices with too little money. But see there is a view that we all better start appreciating which that we pay for it sooner or later. And it would be better… and it would be better in the long run in my view if we paid for it sooner. If we prevented the tragedies, if we gave young people the reason to hope that every new parent, like Senator Petruccelli has for that new child he's cradling just now.

So I thank you for partnering with us in developing these proposals. I thank you for advocating with the legislature, and above all I think you for bearing witness. For being here to bear witness that these are our kids. That we do have higher expectations of them and for them and for their future. And that violence will not define our communities or our commonwealth or our young people. This is our responsibility - all of our responsibility.

Now you have sometimes heard some of you that I am described as an impatient governor, as I hear some of you giggling. That 's true. I am impatient governor. But not for the reasons that sometimes have been offered. I'm not impatient because I come from the business community and I expect from that experience that once a course is set, decisions will be made and effected more quickly. I've heard that explanation. I've also heard I'm impatient because I am new to Beacon Hill and I don't know that ways of how things work here.

None of that is so. I'm impatient because I know that for everyone of us from places like he south side of Chicago, who had a break, who found my way. For every single one of us, countless others wait. Countless other ambitious, eager, creative, constructive young people are waiting for their chance to live the American story. And so when people say to me, 'why are you impatient?' I've started saying to them, ' why aren't you?'

Any that's what I'm asking you to do. Go and respectfully express your impatience. Make a claim on your legislature as you have on your governor that we engage with you. Not do it for you, do it with you. To give the kind of chance that every new parent, holding every new baby, hopes for their child, and that's child future.

God bless you all and thank you for having me.