Violence in Our Community

On Saturday 12/10/22 at around 5:20 PM we were at our store Scope HQ on Centre St., directly across from the Curley Middle School, counting new inventory of sneakers for children and youth from the vaults of a legendary local sneaker store for a holiday sale, when we heard a gunshot across the street. As we rushed to secure everyone in the store safely we realized the victim was someone we knew and immediately brought them into the store, applied first aid and called 911. The original report that the shooter entered the store was incorrect. The victim entered the store. 

Within moments police arrived. A few minutes later an ambulance arrived and immediately took the victim to the hospital. Police stayed to investigate the scene across the street. The victim is expected to make a full recovery. The apparent motive was robbery but the shooter did not take anything.

Our hearts are with the victim and his family, they are a part of our family and for everyone reading this, they are also a part of yours. We are hurt, traumatized,and devastated by this incident. Violence has no place in our communities. It is a self destructive process for all who undertake it and destructive to all who experience it. It is something that has been going on in our community for far too long and has been supported and expanded through many exploitative systems.

Our understanding and experiences with violence has moved many of us to undertake work in various forms of peacebuilding. Through our collaboration with the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute, our work with Cindy Diggs, Peace Commissioner, Peace Boston, our ongoing work through our community organization Voices of Liberation,  our ongoing community service programs Feed the Hood, Heal the Hood, G’s to Gents, Black Women Shifters, holiday activities and arts for the youth, community events + so much more, we pour love into our community knowing how deeply we all need healing, how interconnected we all are, and how much violence in our community (and the systems that perpetuate it) tears at those threads. 

We ask for our community to embrace each other, reach out, and help each other. Especially in moments like this. You never know how much of a difference you can make or how much what you have to share means to someone else. Be giving, as  so many people are in desperate need. Be loving, so many people are neglected or feel alone. Be open, so many people have been judged. Be brave, because all of these things are needed most in places where they are lacking. For many of us involved in the store, some of us lifelong Jamaica Plain residents and people deeply connected to our communities, our establishment has always been a safe one. We have intentionally put energy into making it one that is welcoming to all and safe for all, above all else. 

Since we opened up in June 2021 we haven’t had any problems with violence. We created a space where kids across the street, elders, artists and members of the community and culture from all across the city felt welcomed, embraced and safe. For those of us who have experienced violence in our lives, Scope is a safe place where that is not tolerated, where it is not allowed to take root. Where it is challenged with love and connection. 

Now this sense of safety has been called into question. For many of us who live in the city, that safety we think of, even in a place as peaceful as Jamaica Plain, is not a luxury felt by or extended to all. There are many of our neighbors who live under threat of seemingly random acts of violence, who have been touched by traumatic loss and experiences often called senseless. We know the truth is deeper. That this violence comes from poverty, comes from lack of resources and opportunities, comes from toxic media that exploits and reduces people to their trauma.

As we ask our community to love, we also ask our community to seek the truth and not shy away from uncomfortable realities that are inescapable for so many of our neighbors. Boston is not immune to violence, we have not solved this problem and we have not solved the underlying problems that cause it. We have a lot of work to do. It takes all of us showing up and working together. If you can show up for our community art or public events please try to show up for our community service. Or undertake your own in whatever way you can. Find others who can help you and build together. To 7 News, 5 News, Universal Hub, and all the others if you can report on the tragedies that happen in our neighborhood please come join us to celebrate the triumphs. Please join us to help give kids toys for the holidays or to help feed people across the city or when we bring hundreds of people together to collectively create their own solutions to the violence that spices up your nightly broadcasts. To the police if you can blame the victims who called you for help, who are in shock and experiencing trauma for the poor conversation or interactions you have with them please join us for our community dialogues about police community relationships so you can understand what the people you are serving in that moment are going through and why your presence or the way you carry yourselves as public servants does not engender the trust you expect it to. 

We thank all of our neighbors, community and friends who have already reached out in this moment. Thank you to our fellow business owners on the block, to our neighbors on Kingsboro Street, to our Curley neighbors, your love and support means everything. Please pray for our friend’s health, please take care of each other and please come join us to spread love like we always have and spread it wherever you find yourselves – it is more needed than we know, everywhere we go.

In solidarity, 

– Jake 

Scope Apparel, Scope HQ
Voices of Liberation, Feed the Hood