Dorchester march offers hope for healing

Event focuses on deaths of three youths

Maria Santos (left), a cousin of Jonathan Dos Santos, hugged his sister, Jennifer, while mourning with other members of the community at his memorial site in Dorchester.
Maria Santos (left), a cousin of Jonathan Dos Santos, hugged his sister, Jennifer, while mourning with other members of the community at his memorial site in Dorchester.Harrison Hill for The Boston Globe

More than 200 people marched through Dorchester Tuesday night to call for peace and to honor three city youths who died recently under tragic circumstances.

The group, some of whom wore T-shirts that read “Peace in our Streets,” gathered outside the MBTA’s Ashmont Station shortly before 7 p.m., and after speeches, singing, and prayer began marching toward Washington and Fuller streets.

That intersection was the site of the fatal shooting last Wednesday of Jonathan “Jo Jo” Dos Santos, 16, allegedly by two other teenagers who have been arrested by police.

On Tuesday, as marchers made their way to the corner with a police escort, they sang “This Little Light of Mine” and chanted “What do we want? Peace!”


When they arrived at the corner, they were greeted by a makeshift memorial for Dos Santos made up of balloons, flowers, stuffed animals, and candles.

His family wept at the memorial as the Rev. Ronald Odom Sr., who lost his 13-year-old son, Steven, to violence in 2007, led the group in prayer.

Odom also paid tribute to Dos Santos, saying, “We will never forget you. We will never forget your stand for the right thing.”

Dos Santos’s family did not speak at the memorial, except for his cousin, Shanice Pinto, who used his nickname in a shouted tribute, “Jo Jo world.”

From the memorial, the group walked a short distance to the Dos Santos family’s Fuller Street home for a moment of silence.

As the marchers stood solemnly outside the house, the teen’s mother sobbed on her front porch and shouted, “Oh, Jonathan! Oh, my son! Oh, my son!”

She was consoled by local clergy, including Odom, who then told the crowd, “It’s all right to cry. One day, we won’t have to cry anymore.”

The marchers then proceeded to West Selden Street, where Yadielys Deleon Camacho, 8, was fatally struck June 6 by a hit-and-run driver as she rode her bicycle.


The marchers stopped near the scene of the crash and bowed their heads as Anthony Williams, a member of New Mount Calvary Worship & Praise Ministries in Quincy, said a short prayer for the girl’s family.

“We ask that you would come down and heal your people,” Williams prayed, after which time the group gathered for a silent prayer at a memorial for Yadielys.

Shortly before 9 p.m., the group headed toward the final stop on the march, in the area of Talbot Avenue, where Fritz Philogene, 18, was killed by a hit-and-run driver in May, also while riding his bicycle.

Among the marchers was Charmayne Paulding of Dorchester, whose 16-year-old son Eric was killed in the neighborhood in 1997.

She said marches can help families heal after a tragedy.

“It makes me feel real, real good,” Paulding said. “It gives you some strength.”

Earlier in the evening, speakers at the Ashmont T stop on Dorchester Avenue urged the crowd to work for peace, and implored young people to reject violence.

Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.