The Rev. Jeffrey Brown’s departure as executive director of the TenPoint Coalition is a loss for Boston, which has benefited from the group’s work in reducing youth violence. But Brown’s departure also creates an opportunity for the faith-based crime-fighting initiative to reassess and reinvent its role in the city’s most troubled neighborhoods.
Started by a group of black ministers, the TenPoint coalition was a symbol of community resolve in the high-crime ’90s. It pushed hard for education and employment programs, and served as a link between African-American neighborhoods and police. The work of coalition members helped bring about the “Boston Miracle” — the period during which the number of murders dropped from 152 in 1990 to 31 in 1999. That tally, concentrated in parts of Mattapan, Dorchester, and Roxbury, remained as low as 39 as recently as 2003.