The Boston Ten-Point Coalition (BTPC) is an ecumenical group of Christian clergy and lay leaders working to mobilize the Christian community around issues affecting black and Latino youth. To assist youth at high risk for violence, drug abuse, and other destructive behaviors, the BTPC also seeks to build partnerships with community-based, governmental, and private sector institutions that are committed to the revitalization of the families and communities in which Boston youth grow up.
Programs that develop from these partnerships target some of Boston communities’ “troubled youth,” youth that other agencies most frequently are unable to serve. The BTPC is faith-based because faith breeds a sense of hope and provides the nurturing, yet structured principles and environments that many youth lack. A key goal of the BTPC is to support Boston’s citywide anti-violence strategy that was initiated in the early 1990s, called Operation Ceasefire.
When violence—particularly youth homicides—escalated in Boston at that time, some church clergy and laity formed the Boston Ten-Point Coalition, which then developed a collaborative approach with Boston police in conjunction with Operation Ceasefire. This collaboration was based on the belief that nine out of every ten youngsters could be saved from violence by the clergy or community-based organizations.
The Boston mayor recently asked the BTPC and the faith-based community as a whole to help address youth violence in eight city hot spots. The BTPC will help coordinate services to respond proactively to the threat of increasing violence these communities face. Outreach efforts will include:
- Neighborhood walks by pastors, ministers, and lay leaders.
- Cookouts sponsored by local churches.
- Home-front visits by trained church volunteers.
- Crisis intervention services provided by trained clergy as part of a Crisis Response Team.
- Adoption of tenant organizations and community-based organizations.
The BTPC’s Ten-Point Plan for the twenty-first century includes actions to help youth develop more positive and productive lifestyles.
- Promote and campaign for a cultural shift to help reduce youth violence, both physically and verbally, within the black community by initiating conversations, introspection, and reflection on the thoughts and actions that hold us back as a people, individually and collectively.
- Develop, as churches, a curriculum regarding black and Latino history with an emphasis on the struggles of women of color to help young people understand that the God of history has been and remains active in all our lives.
- Acknowledge and respond to the impact of trauma as a physical and emotional reality on the lives of our young people and their families as a direct result of violence.
- Build meaningful relationships with high-risk youth by recognizing their reality on their terms and in their spaces.
- Focus specifically on connecting and rebuilding the lives of youth who have been incarcerated and stigmatized by mainstream society.
- Provide youth advocacy and one-on-one mentoring for high-risk youth.
- Provide gang mediation and intervention for high-risk youth with the goal of establishing cease-fires and building the foundation for active peace.
- Establish accountable, community-based economic development projects that are organic visions of revenue generation and that demystify the accumulation and power of money through financial literacy.
- Build partnerships with the social/secular institutions of our city, with suburban and downtown communities of faith to help provide spiritual, human, and material support.
- Provide ongoing training for individual churches along with a systematic program in leadership development to create, maintain, and sustain community mobilization.
Exposure to firearm violence
General delinquency involvement
High alcohol/drug use
High drug dealing
Illegal gun ownership/carrying
Mental health problems
Availability and use of drugs in the neighborhood
Availability of firearms
Feeling unsafe in the neighborhood
Neighborhood physical disorder
Neighborhood youth in trouble
Association with antisocial/aggressive/delinquent peers; high peer delinquency
Association with gang-involved peers/relatives
Peer alcohol/drug use
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention: Promising program structure
Boston TenPoint Coalition
2010 Columbus Avenue
Roxbury, MA 02119
Web site: http://btpc.org/
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. (1999). Promising Strategies to Reduce Gun Violence. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention