From My Corner: September 22, 2023

The Nicky Jam Music and Arts Center

There are many ways for a community to come together but when the reason is to welcome one of our own for his international successes, the joy is infinite.

The City of Lawrence greeted Nick Rivera Caminero better known as “Nicky Jam” with the wonderful news of the creation of the Music and Art Center named after him.

Mayor Brian DePeña was joined by members of the City Council, School Committee, and the public schools to celebrate Nicky’s achievements and that he never forgot his roots.  He comes every year and posts on his social media pages pictures in front of the house where he grew up on Green St.

As Mayor DePeña learned more about his story and experiences, the idea of fulfilling a campaign promise came to mind.  That’s how the Adult Learning Center will be transformed into the Music and Art Center because Nicky will be contributing through his foundation to provide musical instruments for our children.

The Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation® Launched The Nicky Jam Scholarship which will provide a 4-year scholarship to a music student at Berklee College of Music each year.

He started the day right before this announcement by paying off the debt a Berklee student had.  “It was not a big bill, but enough to have that student concerned and Nicky paid it off,” said the mayor.

There has been lots of criticism about this celebration and selecting him to emblazon the new Arts and Music Center as undeserving of this honor because of his past.  Nicky was on drugs and went to jail for a while and through it all, he achieved his dreams   When I told my son that he performed with Shakira his answer was, “He’s bigger than Shakira!”

Are we celebrating what he was? Or are we honoring his effort to become clean and hope for all the children going through that right now?  Must people with his background live under the shadow of their past?

Nicky is the best testament to today’s youngsters that it is possible to change your ways and succeed in life.

It’s no secret that we have very respectable wealthy businesspeople in this city, some reaching million; but how many have made such a contribution to Lawrence and its people?  Let’s hope that every problem child in this city grows up to be resilient and determined to be a man or woman of good and serve – as Nicky has.

It was an emotional day for many in the audience because he was born and grew up here and they remember that he was a problem child who made good with his life.

Council President Marc Laplante was in awe having learned his story.  “Councilor Infante told me about his Netflix documentary and I watched it last night.  He is a great example for our kids who may be having problems.  He can reach out to them and they will listen.”


Back to the Primary Elections

Here is an explanation that I omitted last week on the subject of Lee Fickenworth and the opposition from six members of the City Council.  They are the three most important and despicable actions of our representatives:

  1. Prior Practice.  Lee Fickenworth had been working the polls for several years, while Richard Russell was a candidate.  It was never an issue if she was a negative influence on anyone else.
  2. Due process.  Anywhere an employee commits an infraction, they should be told in no uncertain terms particularly, at the polls when they are serving the voting public.  Yet, Lee Fickenworth never received a letter of reprimand for her behavior.
  3. Open meeting law violation.  How and when did the signers of that revolting letter to the City Clerk come together for that agreement?


There’s no secret that the election results were a disgrace.  I don’t know if they showed that people are happy with their local representatives or they just don’t care.  Out of 44,132 registered voters, only 2,485 cast their votes.  I bet that those who complain the most are the ones that went missing.

Now, they are trying to blame the candidates for not doing enough to get their constituents out that day.  Others place it on the city officials for “not sending out reminders” or “educational materials” to the public.  That’s not their job apart from announcing the dates (as they have done) for elections to be held and when Early Voting will begin at City Hall.  They were available from Saturday, September 9th through Friday, September 15th, from 8:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.

When are they going to understand that they are responsible and the ones to be blamed for what goes wrong with the city?  We must select good people to run the council and the schools.

If we want to avoid things like I mentioned above with the current council, it can only be done through a careful selection of the candidates and then VOTING FOR THEM!

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply