Making better neighborhoods
To the Editor,
As I observed the birthday remembrance in last week’s East Boston Times on Junior Lombardi still remembered so much after nearly 15 years. I am sure many in our community remember him as one of those building blocks that create neighborhoods. Buildings don’t make neighborhoods, active community people do.
I became a member of this community about nine years ago but I already knew of his legacy in East Boston. Over the years going back to the late ’70s while a Charlestown activist, I also wrote in the old Regional Review when Dominic Amara and Phil Orlandella started it over on Bremen Street behind McGraths. Eventually, I became a weekly columnist in the East Boston Times back when Sal Tarbi was still holding fort on Lexington Street.
I got arrested in October 1981 helping East Boston protesting the closure of firehouses across the city. I joined East Boston activists blocking the Sumner Tunnel at rush hour. I remember a great writing friend of mine John Camplese who was the best veterans columnist in the entire city. Every time I drive on Boardman Street, I see the ball field that was dedicated in his honor many years ago.
I had the good fortune of meeting up with Anthony Albano, another legendary political activist. He and I were the same age. Seemed over the time I knew him , he and I never seemed to support the same candidates but we both respected each other.
I hope that there will be new leadership on the horizon. I have great respect for my state Rep. Adrian Madaro. He is quite the youthful voice for his neighborhood. He has our backs up on Beacon Hill. There’s Joe Ruggiero. He is everywhere all the time and does so much. He can’t have much free time because he is always doing something for his community.
Finally, there’s Mister Everything Involved in Every Cause, Buddy Mangini. He is like the Ever Ready Bunny. The guy must never sleep. I think as East Boston changes demographically, we will need new Buddys, new Joes, new Johns new Juniors, new Anthonys and an investment by younger men and women of this community carrying on the work of the many that came before them. We are a dynamic and growing community and diverse in culture. Together, we can make our community even better.