Civil rights activist stabbed: Increasing violence in Roxbury

People stand near the entrance to the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston.

On Tuesday night, an alarming incident occurred in Franklin Park in Roxbury when 91-year-old Boston civil rights activist, Jean McGuire, was stabbed while walking her dog, around 8:30 p.m. The attacker was able to flee the scene before police and first responders arrived, and no arrests have been made yet. [4]

The Boston Police Department released a statement that McGuire was taken to a nearby hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. She was found by a group of individuals leaving the Boston Lights held at the Franklin Park Zoo. McGuire was able to grab their attention and get them to call 911. Police also stated that McGuire and her dog fought back against the suspect, believing the suspect was injured during the attack. McGuire released her first statement from the hospital on Friday, “I love you all and I will see you soon,” and is expected to recover fully. [1]

The outrage for McGuire’s attack has been largely due to her extensive history as a civil rights activist in the city. McGuire was the first black social worker in Boston Public Schools and the first black woman to serve on the Boston School Committee. She is most known for her position as a former director of Boston’s Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity desegregation program. “METCO is a program funded by the state of Massachusetts to expand educational opportunities, increase diversity and reduce racial isolation by permitting students from Boston to attend public schools in other communities that have agreed to participate,” according to METCO’s website page. [4,7]

The attack on Jean McGuire occurred only a day after 14-year-old Rasante Osorio was fatally shot, along with a second juvenile injured in a mid-day shooting in the same area as the stabbing. Mayor Michelle Wu stated that she is “disgusted and angry,” in a news conference on Wednesday after the two incidents in Roxbury. Suffolk County Dist. Att. Kevin Hayden spoke to the Boston Globe about the increased violence in the area. “I’m certainly outraged and I think we have to be at the point where we have an entire community that is equally as outraged and will not stand for this sort of random violence any further,” said Hayden. [5]

The recent uprise in community violence has sparked concerns for those in the community and for Kevin Hayden, himself. He expressed his worries to WBUR about the increasing number of daytime shootings in the area. “There [seems] to be more and more of them, and we are concerned with what appears to be an increase in reckless conduct with firearms during the day, when people are out in the community.” [6]

A rightful public outcry has sparked throughout the city to call city officials and police to address the growing safety concerns. A vigil was held outside Franklin Park to honor the recent victims of violence. Attendees of the vigil called on Mayor Wu to appoint a superintendent of police that would specialize in coordinating with communities in areas with high rates of violence. [2]

BPD has strongly urged the public to come forward with any details about McGuire’s investigation, by calling the Area B-2 detectives at 617-343-4275. Anyone that wishes to contribute to the investigation anonymously can call the CrimeStoppers Tip Line at 1 (800) 494-TIPS or text the word “TIP” to CRIME (27463). [1]

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