This last semester I’ve been working on a class project for my Sociology class to plan a Hip-Hop concert for Social Justice in Somerville. The class, Community Structures, Youth Subcultures, is a community engaged learning class that asked students to check out subcultures in Boston, Waltham and at Brandeis

My group, the Boston group, worked with an organization in Somerville called Centro Presente, a Massachusetts-based immigrants rights center. The concert we were planning was to be used to raise money for their after-school program, Pintamos Neustros Mundo (We Paint Our World). It was also to be used as a location for Centro Presente to unveil its newest campaign POLI.C.E, which was meant to raise awareness about the link between the local police forces and the I.C.E. (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).

The event, scheduled for tomorrow evening, has been canceled by the Somerville police, twice. On Monday, Blake Hyatt, one of the people in charge of planning the event, announced that the Somerville Police deemed the concert a security risk and were thus announcing that it cannot be held at its original venue at Somerville High School.

Tonight, Blake sent out this Facebook message to concert attendees:

Hi All,

As you all know, this past Monday we had to switch venues due to pressure from the Somerville Police department over what they referred to as permitting issues. We moved it to Cambridge, into a different venue and a different district. Today, we received a phone call informing us that the Somerville Police department had pursued the issue, pressuring the Cambridge Police to cancel the event. Despite the fact that we had the support of the Cambridge Police, Somerville eventually pressured enough officials, and the Cambridge Police caved. We’ve spent the day since trying to find a way around it, but there’s no way out.

There is very little information as to why the Somerville Police might have gone so far out of their way to do this, and at this point their motives seem very questionable. We will continue posting updates as the case goes on.

We’re very sorry for this turn of events, and send our sincerest apologies for any inconvenience it may have caused. Thank all of you for your support.

Best,
Blake Hyatt ’08
Hip-Hop for Justice Co-Coordinator
bhyatt@brandeis.edu

Quite sketchy if you ask me. This was a totally harmless concert planned by a bunch of students at Brandeis and a few cool kids from Somerville. Hardly a security risk. Not only did Somerville Police run the concert out of their town, but they also ran the concert out of existence. Was it really a security concern? Or was it that they don’t want the POLI.C.E. campaign to get noticed? Sketchy business. A semesters worth of work (and money) wasted.

2 comments on “Hip-Hop Concert for Social Justice Canceled by Police”

  1. neda Says:

    This really shocks me. I know a lot of people who were apart of this event and it is definitely upsetting to know that the police can get away with this abuse of power.
    I’m wondering if there is any way for Brandeis students to fight back (maybe file complaints?) I find this to be highly discouraging for any young community activist and it shouldn’t be accepted. I’d be willing to help out in any way and I think so would a lot of other Brandeis students.

  2. w&w Says:

    Wow. That’s really disappointing — and totally wack, I might add. Have the Somerville Police issued any more detailed comment to explain their opposition?

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention.