Meet Jimmy

 

Jimmy Pereira (Photography by Djecy Ramos)

I, Jimmy Pereira, was born at the Goddard Hospital in Stoughton, Massachusetts on September 21, 1991 and raised in Brockton, Massachusetts by strict Cape Verdean parents, Maria Rodrigues and the late Lucilio Fernandes. I learned the meaning of hard work and strong family values at a very early age.  My parents worked many strenuous jobs in the hopes of creating a better life for my siblings and me.  My father was a maintenance worker at the Life Care Center in West Bridgewater and my mother worked the assembly line at Chadwick’s of Boston and did housekeeping at the Life Care Center as well.

Growing up in Brockton for me had its share of challenges and setbacks.  My father left the United States and moved back to Cape Verde when I was only 11 years old, which left me without a prominent male and fatherly figure.  With my father gone, my mother suddenly became a single parent and the sole provider for my family.  She was forced to take on different odd jobs causing her to be away from home often.  I was also lucky enough to get a job at Enterprise as a delivery boy and subscription salesman to help my mother out a little.  However, the more freedom and independence I had, the more I started to hang out with the wrong crowd of boys, which resulted in my propensity for getting into trouble and making bad choices.

By age 14, I was already a juvenile delinquent, breaking laws, skipping school, and fighting frequently.  I was becoming extremely difficult for my mother to handle.  I was committed to the Department of Youth Services (DYS) for breaking the law.  My DYS caseworker and mother decided that as long as I remained in Brockton, I would continue to get into trouble and repeat past offenses.   With my mother’s full consent, I went into state custody with the Department of Children and Families (DCF) in the foster care system in Springfield, Massachusetts.  There I was determined to change my old ways and make better choices for myself.  However, I learned that old habits don’t die easily.  I joined a gang and continued to get suspended from school due to excessive fighting and truancy.  My mother’s health also declined due to her breast cancer diagnosis.

By age 17 and being in DYS for several years now, I began to face my challenges and take accountability for the choices I was directly responsible for, and create personal and academic goals.  With maturity, increased focused, and my own tenacity to make something of myself, I graduated from Putnam Vocational Technical High School in 2009.  My graduation was a pivotal point in my life; I now knew I had it in me to succeed.  I then applied to Westfield State University and got a full scholarship where I pre-majored in Environmental Science.  I was the first in my family to graduate from a four year accredited university.

While at WSU, an interdisciplinary method of learning came into my consciousness. I aspired to fix how we humans interact with the environment.  My growing awareness of regional community planning inspired me to change my major from Environment Science to Geography and Regional Planning.  This major enabled me to learn about legal issues, different planning theories, and how to apply interdisciplinary practices in order to mobilize and engage communities, particularly urban.  I graduated from WSU in 2013 with a Bachelor’s degree in Regional Planning.

Photography by Djecy Ramos

Julia (my Fiancé) and I were expecting our first child in November and by June of 2013, I would get my first job post-graduation working in Springfield as Healthy Design Coordinator.  A contracted position under the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition (MassBike), As the Healthy Design Coordinator I was able to work with the Springfield Planning Department and Engineering Department and many other stakeholders on making Springfield a bicycle friendly city.  We collectively concentrated on public outreach and getting residents involved in the planning process.  We created an Ad-hoc Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee that helped guide the development of the Springfield Bicycle Pedestrian Plan and helped educate departments on Complete Streets policy and funding.

As all good things must come to an end, my contract would terminate by September 30, 2014.  The drive back home was one that I long awaited.  I knew the transition would not be easy but we managed.  With the disappointment of not getting the Junior Planner position I was crushed that I would not be working directly for my community.  But with my proactive mindset I had already made connections at the local Regional Planning Agency and was granted a position as Community/Transportation Planner.  We were able to purchase our first home in June of 2015.  Throughout all the struggles, trials, and tribulations, I always thought about the road to redemption and how I would get there.

With as little as three years since my return to Brockton, I have enjoyed the birth of my second child Zultan and I continue to be a committed to improving my community and making a positive difference in Brockton – my community.  I am engaging my community not only through my occupation as a Regional Community/Transportation Planner, conducting  traffic studies and community development projects, but also as a resident volunteering and continuing my advocacy for at-risk youth and the importance mentoring our future leaders.

I want to use my personal experiences — my lows and highs –to help effect positive changes in the City of Champions.  That’s why I am running for Mayor of Brockton.  I want to give the voiceless a voice,  I want to create an atmosphere where everyone can be able to walk down the street without fear.  Together we will clean up our streets, increase, revenue, ensure safe and viable schools, and healthy recreational parks in our neighborhoods. I want to empower our community members, make them feel important and responsible for their neighborhood.  I will engage our youth and elderly population so they know they matter.  Unfortunately I have not seen transparency and inclusion happening in the past few years, I am here to change that, by addressing problems and applying solutions through inclusionary planning and proactive decision making.  Join me in bringing Brockton into the future because it takes a City to raise Champions.