Not to be discouraged by the dissent some have expressed about his gun buyback program, Mayor Walsh announced on Friday that his office is kickstarting another effort aimed at reducing citywide violence while promoting public safety. Aptly dubbed the Mayor’s Safety Initiative, Mayor Walsh’s new upstart will be led by neighborhood streets experts Leon Graves and Daniel Mulhern.
The mayor has made public safety a top priority for his new regime, taking such steps as appointing knowledgeable individuals like Commissioner Bill Evans and Chief William Gross to top ranks in the Boston Police Department and joining former Boston Mayor Tom Menino’s nationwide Mayors Against Illegal Guns organization.
“Boston is a city that is rich in assets, and we need to build on those assets to build a strong, safe future for our kids,” said Mayor Walsh in a statement. “I keep saying this: We cannot arrest our way out of this problem. We need to take a comprehensive approach to neighborhood safety, and this is an important first step.”
Graves and Mulhern will be charged with dissecting the root causes of safety issues such as trauma among young people, detrimental quality of life, access to education and pathways to careers, among others, and creating resolutions that can be employed across various city departments and commissions.
Perhaps more importantly, though, they’ll be working in tandem with tangible entities like the Boston Public Schools system and Boston Centers for Youth and Family – institutions and organizations that Walsh administration refers to as “community stakeholders” – to better experience and comprehend the problems at hand.
The duo brings a combined 30-years of experience combating neighborhood violence to the table, and both have resumes peppered with exemplifications of such.
Graves served on the staff of the late Rep. Kevin Fitzgerald, a role in which he contributed to community efforts such as the Highland Square Task Force, the Grove Hall Initiative, the Orange Line Safety Task Force, and the Roxbury Strategic Planning Committee, among others.
Similarly, Mulhern has adopted crucial roles with The Boston Reentry Initiative, Operation Ceasefire, Safe Neighborhood Initiative Coordinating Council and Community Based Meetings, StreetSafe Boston, and the TenPoint Coalition