Community members marched through a South Boston neighborhood on Saturday to encourage peace and community in an area that’s seen too much violence.
About 60 people, many of them teenagers, bundled up on a cold, sunny morning to walk through South Boston’s Mary Ellen McCormack and Old Colony housing projects. A few carried hand-drawn signs that read, “Peace.”
“The teens, that are encouraging us to walk faster, are learning the art of community organizing,” said Katie Cole, who runs the youth program at Fourth Presbyterian Church in the neighborhood.
“We want to make the world a better place!" one young person shouted during the walk. "And we hope to save the world!” said another student.
The march was in response to several violent incidents in the neighborhood, including a November shooting, which left 16-year-old Angel Suazo dead and another teen injured.
“It was hard to process that,” said Ana Calderon, who lives in the Mary Ellen McCormack development, and knows the victim’s sister. “People were feeling awful. Me, myself, I was scared to walk in the street.”
Calderon didn’t want to feel that way about her home, so she helped organize the walk.
“We came up with the idea of a peace walk to show people in the neighborhood that we care about our community and that our community should be safe," she said.
Calderon acknowledged that kids need to be cautious when they’re out at night. But she said there’s safety in knowing your neighbors, and she hoped the march would help create those connections.
“So any time you’re out in the community, you will be like, ‘Oh no, I know that person. I’m not going to be scared of him, because I know him,’” she said.
Her neighbors here, she said, shouldn’t feel like they don’t belong where they live. “You belong here," she said. "This is where you’re supposed to be.”