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Mayoral candidates Bill Walczak, John Barros to join anti-gun rally

Hoping to call attention to the roughly 100 shootings in the city since April 15, mayoral candidate Bill Walczak will join a late afternoon rally today outside City Hall in a press to curb gun violence.

Walczak, who is set to release his comprehensive public safety plan this week, said that violence at its core stems from poverty. He said he will work with the community to find solutions to keep neighborhoods safe.

“I am supporting this rally because we need to start paying attention to the escalating violence that is occurring in our city,’’ said Walczak in an e-mailed statement. “We need to elevate the conversation and start trying to find solutions to our public safety problems.”


With the rise in gun violence and a heated national dialogue on racial profiling, public safety is emerging as a hot topic in the race for mayor for Boston, edging out education and casinos.

Walczak is seeking to create a community notification system for specific neighborhoods and has championed a holistic approach to fighting violence, such as linking health care, education and public safety initiatives. He would also support the current city effort to crack down on illegal guns.

City Councilor Rob Consalvo, the first mayoral candidate to roll out a comprehensive public safety plan, is proposing to hire an additional 200 police officers, increase the number of youth summer jobs by 15 percent, and create a citywide registry of gun offenders. His would also expand the use of public and private cameras, and create a research team to explore how to prevent violence against women.

Neither Consalvo nor Daniel F. Conley, the Suffolk district attorney running for mayor, will attend the rally, according to their campaigns.

Mayoral candidate John Barros, head of Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, is scheduled to appear.

The goal of the rally today – set for 3 p.m. – is to raise awareness of rising gun violence but also to offer solutions on how to stop it, said Jamarhl Crawford, who established the online blog “Blackstonian’’ and is organizing the rally.


Crawford has been keeping a tally of the shootings on his website since the Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people and wounded more than 260 victims. The horrific tragedy caused a surge of response from around the world, with people donating millions of dollars to help victims and their families.

Crawford said he grew concerned that little attention was being given to “regular violence’’ and shootings plaguing the neighborhoods.

“Our people go through these events on a frequent basis,’’ he added.

Crawford said he expects at least 100 people at the rally.

He plans to present a list of solutions to the mayor’s office and to members of the City Council.

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