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Missing Jaewon: Students' perspectives on the 'Mattapan Massacre'

Posted by Swati Gauri Sharma  December 1, 2010 02:24 PM

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Violence is all over the world, but some people may think it’s only in certain places.

Violence can affect everyone, some more than others. For example, the “Mattapan Massacre.” For those who don’t know, this was a shooting of five people in September that left four dead, including a mother and her toddler. Even people not directly involved felt this deeply.

Nelsmarie Matos Arroyo, a ninth grader at the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science, says the Mattapan murders brought back bad memories.

“This made me think about my friend, Jaewon Martin, who passed and was shot also,” she says.

Ashaunte Dunbar, a freshman at Madison Park High School, thinks that the two-year-old boy in Mattapan, Amani Smith, was another casualty caught in the crossfire of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“I feel like it was a pointless killing, just like Jaewon,” she says.

Jaewon Martin
was an eighth-grade honor student at the James P. Timilty Middle School who was fatally shot on a basketball court on the Jamaica Plain-Roxbury line in May. Police say he was an innocent victim of a gang feud that took his life.

Now, even after more than five months, some teens still haven’t been able to accept the fact that he’s gone. They say it’s difficult not having that smile to make your day, not having the person to talk to in time of need, not having that buddy to play basketball with.

Daequan Ruffin, a ninth grader at Urban Science Academy, in West Roxbury, says he’ll never forget his friend.

“We were like brothers,” says Ruffin.

Dunbar says she misses the jokes Jaewon told.

Arroyo says she still tries to write good things on Jaewon’s Facebook wall.

“It was just terrible, because I never got to say goodbye,” she says.

Dunbar says she and a group of students from the Timilty recently went to visit the basketball court where Jaewon was shot and killed. She and other students cried, but were happy they went to show their respect.

His friends say Jaewon was a stong young man who cared for others, and that they are trying hard to keep his memory alive.

“Every day I think about him,” says Arroyo.

This piece was originally published in Teens in Print, a program for Boston high school students that is supported by the Boston Globe and other organizations.

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