The powerful ideas that gave birth to the Boston TenPoint Coalition were a key part of the “Boston Miracle’’ — the period in the 1990s when violent crime in the city dropped dramatically. Black clergy were challenged to go into the streets and engage drug dealers and gang members. The result was that the clergy mentored youths on how to avoid violence, gain an education, and secure a job.
But the attention brought about by national recognition of the successful program produced new dynamics. Over time, the clergy began to retreat from the streets. Today, most young people have no idea what the TenPoint Coalition is. In addition, the failure of TenPoint leadership to cultivate young, bright talent has produced a leadership vacuum. Meanwhile, TenPoint’s connection to the criminal justice system has waned, and the organization is now viewed by most law enforcement players as irrelevant. There are no new powerful ideas and few boots on the ground.