send messages of change in a community staggered by a
on the red dots to take a trip along Centre St.
By Diana Schoberg
murals decorate buildings along a three-quarter-mile stretch
of Centre Street in Jamaica Plain’s Hyde/Jackson square neighborhood.
To a passerby, they’re a colorful sight. But to residents
of the community, the murals are more than just public works of
art: They tell stories.
tell children to stay in school in a neighborhood known in the
late 1980s as the cocaine capital of Boston. They tell stories
of community members
working to reclaim a neighborhood where gangs and violence were
once so commonplace that in 1991 a mother of four children was
shot and paralyzed by two 14-year-olds as the mayor and police
commissioner stood across the street. They tell stories of small
business owners and community activists laboring to make Boston’s “Latin
quarter” a vibrant community.
Crime in Hyde Square dropped 50 percent between 1990 and 1999,
according to the Heritage Foundation. Boston Police aggressively
went after the drug dealers. Individuals in the community participated
in crime watches and kept up their property. Businesses flourished.
Today, one of the biggest worries is that those who worked so hard
to make this a functioning community will soon be priced out and
forced to move.
neighborhood has come a long way. But drugs are still a problem
today, as are in turn bag snatchings and car thefts. The community
is on edge after a 14-year-old girl was stabbed outside of the
Jackson Square T-stop in april.
Positive messages on murals, sincere as they may
be, can only go so far. But they are still important and so are
the people conveying
them, working together for the community’s future.