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Jean McGuire thanked two people who found her after knife attack in Franklin Park, says she won’t walk alone there again

Mayor Michelle Wu (left) wished Jean McGuire well as she was discharged from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston following an attack in Franklin Park last week.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Jean McGuire, the trailblazing educational leader who is recovering from a stabbing attack that occurred last week while walking her dog near Franklin Park, said Tuesday that she won’t walk in the park alone anymore and thanked the two people who found her on the ground after the incident and got help.

“You’re angels without wings, I’ll tell you that,” McGuire, 91, said of the people who came to her aid, describing them as young people. “Their parents should be so proud that they cared enough to get help because somebody’s laying on the street bleeding.”

Flanked by two of her nephews at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where she was treated, McGuire told reporters she didn’t say anything to her attacker, who remains at large.


“I used the training I had, which I do with my staff to protect myself when somebody attacks my body,” McGuire said, speaking before she was discharged Tuesday morning. “That was my foot and my knee and ... ” McGuire said before her voice trailed off and she lifted her right arm, wrapped in a splint.

McGuire, a cofounder of Metco, a school desegregation program, and the first Black woman elected to the Boston School Committee, was stabbed multiple times while walking her dog between 7:55 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. but managed to fend off her assailant. The attack has outraged residents across the city and drawn calls for increased efforts to curb violence.

Speaking from a wheelchair that at times she rose from, McGuire said she would like to know what her assailant was thinking.

“I always want to find out why you’re so angry,” McGuire said. “Or why you want to hurt somebody else. That’s something that becomes a foundation of why people go to war at the national and international level ... This issue of putting money into weaponry instead of into homes, and roads, health care and dental care, good food, grass and trees, you know, animals. Things that make you happy.”


Failing to do so, she said, “is a misuse of our wealth and our power.”

“For life, not death. It’s always got to be for life,” she said. “It’s got to be for the future.”

To that end, McGuire’s nephews, Ronald Mitchell and Mark Williams, announced that people who wish to help McGuire and her family can donate to the newly established Jean McGuire Educational and Health Fund, run in collaboration with the Boston Foundation.

Details are available on the foundation’s website, which says the fund will “honor Jean’s long legacy of supporting and improving the lives of young people in Greater Boston.”

In her remarks, McGuire, repeatedly returned to the themes of equity, peace, and investing in education.

“We should have more public preschool programs,” McGuire said. “We have good high schools. We have good colleges. What we need is the kind of support that expands that to other people in the world, not just in Massachusetts but in other states. Because people tend not to want to pay for education and teachers, and health. Because health care is absolutely essential, because you can’t do anything if you’re not healthy.”

Investigators believe the man who attacked McGuire sustained injuries that may have required medical treatment, police said.

Mitchell thanked police for working the case diligently and urged anyone with information about the attack to contact police.


“We want to ask our community to stand up for Jean,” Mitchell said. “If you know anything, if you saw anything, even if you don’t think it matters, please call the CrimeStoppers line.”

Police ask that anyone who was in the area during the time frame of the attack call detectives at 617-343-4400.

McGuire said her dog, Bailey, is doing fine after the attack and that she wouldn’t dwell on the trauma.

“I don’t let it bother me now because hey, you all took care of me,” McGuire said. “And so you move on. But you do have to be prepared to protect yourself in that future.”

McGuire added, “I’m just grateful I live in Boston.”

Mayor Michelle Wu hugged McGuire as she was brought into the briefing room and told her, “Thank you for inspiring all of us.”

“When I visited her in the hospital the next morning, she was just what you see here today,” Wu said later. “An amazing inspiration for all of us and she’s the embodiment of Boston — tough, brilliant, ready to take on the world — and we are here for whatever she needs and to make sure that all the hopes and dreams that she still has for the young people of Boston can be moved forward.”

Material from prior Globe stories was used in this report.

Bailey Allen can be reached at bailey.allen@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @baileyaallen. Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com.