By John Lynds
The weekly East Boston Walks for Peace will start up again on Thursday April 20 beginning at the District A-7 Police Station and wind throughout the Maverick neighborhood.
The walks were started last year by a group of concerned citizens to address the ongoing teen violence that led to several murders of young people on the streets of Eastie since September 2015.
“Here we are again in the spring season launching our very first Peace Walk for the year 2017,” said one Peace Walk organizer Sandra Nijjar. “If you want to be part of this peaceful initiative, please come out on our opening day, Thursday, April 20 at 6:00 p.m. Our meeting place will be the police station in East Boston. We will walk to LoPresti Park on Maverick Landing. Then we will walk together back to the police station where we will conclude our walk for the night. We would love if the community came out and enjoyed a peaceful walk with us community leaders, residents, police and clergy leaders. We hope to see you there.”
With an uptick in shootings in and around Maverick Landing, the Peace Walks with some of the Boston Police Department’s top brass couldn’t come soon enough for some.
“There have been at least three incidents in two weeks and the summer weather hasn’t even arrived yet,” said Maverick Landing resident Magdelena Ayed. Police did make an arrest in one incident and thanked community members for being vigilant.
The Peace Walks will continue through the summer each Thursday at 6 p.m.
“We’re excited to see the East Boston Peace Walk start a third season,” said another organizer Paul Rogers. “It truly shows how much this community cares. They’re a key effort from residents, volunteers, the Boston Police, clergy, businesses and politicians to actively reach out and engage with neighborhood folks to build positive relationships for a safe East Boston. The support and participation from the Boston Police Department has been incredible. They’ve really done their part in making these walks successful.”
Rep. Adrian Madaro said the walks have become so important to the residents of Maverick Landing.
“As you know there have been some incidents recently but to have the top brass of the police department coming out and taking these walks with us and being visible shows that we are here, we are listening, we care and we are doing everything we can to get our arms around these issues,” said Madaro.
Walks for Peace were organized citywide by Chaplin Joe Logrippo said Commissioner William Evans few years ago and started in high crime areas like Roxbury and Dorchester as a community outreach in response to violent crimes.
“With the help of community activists that wanted us to come here we expanded the walks into East Boston and Charlestown as they are not impervious to similar types of crime,” said Logrippo. “It’s important for residents and leaders including clergy and spiritual leadership to stand together with the police department to unify our cause for peace and prosperity for every neighborhood in our city. Alone we can only accomplish so much, but together there is no limit.”
Logrippo added that spiritually speaking or not murder and violence is not right and should be deemed unacceptable in any realm, especially involving gang related retribution and young teenagers that have not reached their full potential or even understand the full scope of their actions toward the community.
“The clear message is for peace and prosperity and hard working residents of our city and the children that live here deserve better than this,” he said. “The police can only do so much, its incumbent upon all of us to support a safe and prosperous city.”