Coalition seeks to curb youth violence

Boston TenPoint group to hold summit in D.C.

In a single week last month, a 25-year-old woman was slain in Mattapan, as was a 21-year-old man in the South End and a 72-year-old woman in Dorchester.

Their deaths capped a horrific week of three fatal shootings in Boston, a deadly stabbing, and host of nonfatal acts of violence, familiar in many urban communities.


“We know that nationally violence is going down,’’ said the Rev. Jeffrey Brown, who heads the Boston TenPoint Coalition. “But those kinds of violence still persist in the inner-city.’’

Hoping to change the culture of violence, Brown is convening a group of faith leaders, law enforcement officers, and criminal justice scholars to a summit in Washington. The event on March 12 and 13 aims to build on lessons learned from previous public safety efforts and encourage police chiefs to team with faith leaders in their bid to curb gang violence. Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis will not attend the event, his spokeswoman said.

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The TenPoint Coalition, established in 1992 in the age of the crack epidemic in this city, has long been hailed for helping to quash street violence. Known as “The Boston Miracle,’’ the initiative is credited with bringing together faith leaders and law enforcement to address systemic issues that afflict Black and Latino youth trapped in the web of poverty, unemployment, and despair.

With police on patrol, clergy walked the streets, talking to gang members and high-impact players, while offering jobs and an understanding ear. But “the miracle’’ did not last. Crime, random and indiscriminate, returned with a vengeance, leaving a trail of death.

Among the deceased in recent years are Amanihotep Smith, a 2-year-old toddler killed in a quadruple murder in Mattapan while in his mother’s arms; Nicholas Fomby-Davis, a 15-year-old who was pulled from his brother’s moped and shot three times in Dorchester; and Dequan Gomez, a 14-year-old high school freshman who was shot twice near Mattapan.


“We have youths who think that violence goes hand in hand with breathing, eating, and living,’’ said Brown. “What we are hoping to do is to is find a way to end an era of violence.’’

Meghan Irons can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @meghanirons.
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