Hitting the streets to increase peace

Back in July, when Rip Hernandez heard that a young man was shot on Centre Street in Jamaica Plain, he feared his 18-year-old son — who hangs out in the neighborhood — might have been a victim.

“I’m calling my kid left and right to find out where he is,” said Hernandez, a DJ from Hyde Square. “We shouldn’t have to be living like that.”

It was that shooting, and other fatal murders that claimed the lives of young teens earlier this year, that frustrated Hernandez to the point of wanting to do something.

Yesterday, about 100 people joined him on the first “It’s OK Walk for Peace” through Roxbury and Jamaica Plain, organized by Hernandez and 23-year-old Jamaica Plain resident Adrian Rivera.

Flanked by police officers from the neighborhood station, residents marched down Columbus Avenue chanting: “A people united will never be divided.”

Some made signs that read: “It’s OK to smile. It’s OK to live freely.”

When asked why she participated in the walk, 23-year-old Stephanie Pena of Roxbury said, “Just everything that goes on. All the shootings. All the killings.”

Carmen Rios lives in Dorchester now, but grew up in Roxbury near where the walk was taking place.

“To grow up and see this violence get worse and worse is disheartening,” she said before participating in the walk. “But to see all the people in the community come together is inspiring.”


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