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Brothers for Boston march to fight crime and violence

Brothers for Boston march to fight crime and violence
The crowd listened to Minister Rodney Muhammad at the Mecca in Grove Hall.

The crowd listened to Minister Rodney Muhammad at the Mecca in Grove Hall.

Marchers pause in front of the Quick Stop on Warren Street where Tahitia Milton was killed.

There are still concerned men in our community who care about making a difference. This was the message Brothers for Boston aimed to send with their march through Roxbury last Saturday.

About 40 people of various ethnicities and backgrounds gathered in the Mecca shopping area in Grove Hall. They came armed with a small PA system and positive message.

“We’re coming together to enhance the quality of life for all people in the Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan areas,” said Chris Womack, one of the organizers of the event. “This coalition of brothers and sisters are concerned about the social ills that plague our communities.”

Womack was quick to point out that Brothers for Boston represents the interests of not only the black community, but “all peoples of color.” Represented in the small crowd were members of the Cape Verdean, Hispanic, African and Caribbean communities.

“A lot of us came together through the Cornell Mills campaign,” Womack said. “Normally after a campaign people pack up and shut down. We believe the movement has to go on. You give a vehicle for people to continue to unify themselves.”

Former Boston City Councilor candidate and son of former senator Dianne Wilkerson, Mills was one of the organizers of the event and is a member of Brothers for Boston. He expressed satisfaction with the turnout.

“We want to make sure the young people in this community understand that there are elders who care for them, who are here to stand on their behalf,” Mills said. “We are willing to continue the legacy of our parents and our forefathers to fight for justice and that’s what this march is a symbolism of.”

After listening to various speakers, including a fiery impromptu sermon from Minister Rodney Muhammad of the Nation of Islam, the group started their trek down Blue Hill Avenue, onto Warren Street and ending at Hibernian Hall in Dudley Square.

Along their path, the group made many stops in front of local places of business, vacant lots, community parks, churches, police stations and scenes of past shootings.

This included a prolonged stop in front of the Quick Stop on Warren Street where Tahitia Milton was gunned down in October of last year. This same storefront, along with a memorial for the Woolson Street murders, had sparked a city-wide debate on the appropriate scale and length of time for street memorials.  

The group was also given advice on what to do if needles or drug paraphernalia were found in their neighborhood, and where to go if they needed help preparing a resume. Jamarhl Crawford encouraged the marchers to take note of the number of churches and liquor stores they passed.

“I guarantee that at every spot of a shooting or murder we pass, if you look around you’re going to see a church, a liquor store or some form of police presence.”

As the march progressed down busy Warren Street, Crawford appealed to passing motorists to honk if they “were tired of seeing crime and violence in our community.”

The march ended at Hibernian Hall where the Facing Love Community Forum was being held. Both Womack and Mills said this was just the first event for the new organization and that regular events would follow.

Womack said they would be working with the 21st Century Black Massachusetts organization and they would be engaging in continued community activism.

“This is just the launch of many things to come,” Womack said. “Everyone needs to get involved.”