How do you take back our streets?

July 08,2010
Talia's Blog
Talia Rivera( )

Talia Rivera is a 33-year-old mother of two. As Executive Director of Villages without Walls, she works with high-risk gang members in Boston. [Read more]

A young man was murdered. Then days later a ten-year-old girl was shot. I stood in the back of a muggy basement where police officers, reporters, housing managers, and neighbors discussed the shootings. "I covered her wound with my hand to stop the blood from gushing from her leg," said one resident. "Our kids can't play outside!" shouted another resident. Then she turned to the housing manager, "Ya'll promised us a playground years ago!" A pregnant girl who was shot in the back two years ago on the same street spoke up, simply saying, "We have to do something." The anger of the residents was really fear. They are afraid to cross the street to a corner store. This was when I realized that a gang's social control over a community and its residents is very real. The gangs determine the neighborhood. A man with a squeaky voice said, "We have to take back our street." But how will residents without guns fight for their street?