Residents are calling on members of the community to come together in a show of unity on the steps of City Hall to seek solutions to the ongoing gun violence in Boston, after the shooting toll since April 15 recently reached 100 incidents and counting.
“This is a rally for solutions—we are trying to get a real platform for real ideas and policies, not just rallying about the violence that has long been ignored,” said activist Jamarhl Crawford, publisher and editor of the website Blackstonian.com.
Crawford said there is a drastic disparity between what happens to black and Latino people, and what happens to “white counterparts” in terms of how people react to violence in Boston, and that Monday’s rally is meant to put the spate of violence on the forefront of peoples’ minds by using the “sad, sick milestone” of the 100-plus shootings to highlight the “devaluation” of the lives of people in the urban community. “For some reason, black and Latino life in the urban city environment is devalued. There are ‘abnormal’ acts of violence, and that’s what gets attention, as with my community, however, [violence is] almost expected. It’s become ‘normalized,’” he said. “I want people to see we are regular people too. If you prick us do we not bleed?”
The “Rally For Solutions” will begin at 3 p.m. at Government Center, and last roughly two hours, highlighting the notion that “no life [is] worth more than another and one life lost is too many.”
Since April 15, the day of the Marathon bombing, there have been 104 shootings in the city, 17 of which were fatal, representing a 25% increase in shootings compared to 2012.
Because of the uptick in gun crime this year, city officials have met on numerous occasions to discuss ways to push back against the shootings, and put an end to the rise in gun-related deaths.
In July, the City Council met in Roxbury, during a community hearing, and listened as residents expressed concerns and offered first-step solutions to the problem.
Police were present at that meeting, and blamed much of the shooting violence on ongoing gang feuds, arguments over statements gang members post about one another on social media, and late-night parties held in abandoned houses that lead to fights and large arguments.
Over the weekend, mayoral candidate and City Councilor Mike Ross lead a “peace celebration” which covered similar topics that stemmed from the July hearing, and introduced a five-point plan to try and deal with the shootings. Part of that plan included a gun buyback program, and imposing a “city safety tax” on sales of all guns and ammunition in Boston. “This revenue will be dedicated to support community-based anti-violence initiatives,” Ross said.
While propositions such as implementing a gun buyback program—something that brought in thousands of weapons from the city streets in the past—and ramping up community outreach were put on the table, Crawford said Monday actual solutions that his community has been calling for for years need to be put into play. “This is a tactic and strategy to point out the hypocrisy in the system and the flaws in the system, and not just point a finger, but highlight solutions that the community has long since begged for, and longed for,” he said.
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