My name is Evenor Pineda; I am 41 years old. I was born and raised in Nashua, NH, and currently work for the Manchester Police Athletic League as their Intervention Programming Coordinator.
What drives me is knowing that I have a unique first-hand experience, having been an at-risk youth who eventually was caught up in the system and incarcerated. Knowing and understanding how challenging it is to work with young folks walking this path makes me and others who have lived this lifestyle uniquely equipped to be the lighthouses guiding them from harm's way. Therefore, it is even more sensible for me to work with people returning to society who need guidance and assistance in adjusting to home life while also providing them an opportunity to give back by utilizing their experience to help at-risk youth. We are helping to turn a negative experience into a positive tool that may help reduce the number of juveniles working their way into the adult system and reduce recidivism for the adults working their way out.
What communities in NH should know about these populations is that they are not nameless or faceless entities in some far-off remote communities. They are everywhere, from the larger cities in NH like Manchester and Nashua to smaller ones like Claremont or Rochester. They may be neighbors, friends, family, co-workers, and their children. The communities in NH can help to support these vulnerable populations by first acknowledging that they are in your local community. Second, learning what community resources are available to help these people. Lastly, contribute to the cause by either volunteering your time, donating money, voting for candidates that support these initiatives, or helping bring awareness to the needs of young people at risk and the adults returning to the community post-incarceration.
If Canelo wanted to fight me one-on-one…yikes!!! I might want to pray first and make sure I get a huge payday! But it would be a no-brainer if I were to choose someone to train me to fight him. The champion of my generation, that everyone loved and still respects is Iron Mike Tyson. That’s who I would want to train me.
So, I don’t keep a whole lot in my fridge because I am a bachelor and I hate throwing out food. But, at this moment, we would have a few options:
Kevin Pajaro-Marinez is the 2023 Black Lives Matter Seacoast Gala host in Dover, New Hampshire, on Saturday, September 30, 2023, at the River Mill at Dover Landing.
Nashua Digital plays 4 Questions with Kevin.
-Kevin, you have quite a background in community work and advocacy. What drives you?
The question that guides the community work I’m engaged in is: What am I building?
Social justice is never solely about what analysis you have developed through reading books and listening to podcasts. While understanding the origins of individual and structural oppression is important, there needs to be a commitment to building with others. For me, eradicating conditions that cause harm is a collective endeavor.
What drives me to continue the often messy and imperfect work of social change is knowing I can experiment, fail, and apply lessons learned with others who are also invested in doing the same.
Oftentimes, conversations related to justice feel like intellectual gymnastics, where folks feel a sense of gratification for the ways they can critique everything wrong with a certain idea, practice, or policy. I believe when folks are in relationships with each other that center on honesty, vulnerability, and accountability, we can create opportunities for building innovative solutions that are community-informed and community-driven. Ultimately, I am motivated to challenge the status quo in ways that center on abundance and collaboration, not individualism and competition.
-How important is the B.L.M Seacoast Gala?
One of the most important aspects of the BLM Seacoast Annual Gala is the proceeds going towards our Mutual Aid Fund. To quote directly from the BLM Seacoast website, “This invaluable fund has helped our Black community by giving back over $100,000 for needs such as rent, utilities, and basic family needs. The Mutual Aid Fund is our radical act of caring for each other while simultaneously working to change our communities.”
The Gala also acts as a way to celebrate and expose community members to the expansiveness of Blackness through performance, arts, and culture. I’m incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to be the host this year! I’m looking forward to being in the community with everyone attending.
-As someone with roots in Queens, N.Y., and Providence, R.I., where do you get your Pizza?
This is a hilarious question because while I love pizza, I don’t have a particular commitment to one spot. I am an equal-opportunity pizza eater!
-What are your recommendations for anyone who doesn’t know how to dance at this huge Gala?
The Gala is not the place to experiment with that new dance move you’ve been thinking about but haven’t tried yet. My recommendation is to hit a smooth two-step and call it a day. As the host for this year’s Gala, I will happily give a tutorial so that my rhythmically-challenged friends can still catch a vibe!