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The Boston Strategy
A Story of Unlikely Alliances
by Bettye H. Pruitt


The Story - PrefaceTo paraphrase the words of a philosopher: life must be lived forward, but it can only be understood backward. The objective of this effort to reconstruct the origins and evolution of The Boston Strategy to Prevent Youth Violence is not to dwell in the past, but to make it usable in the present. In order to do so, many individuals gave considerable time and energy to the tasks of recollection and reflection. Each perspective is unique, yet there is strong consensus on key points and fundamental principles. Most importantly, the Boston Strategy partners agree that the city’s problem of youth violence is far from solved. Through four years of collaborative effort, culminating in Operation Cease Fire in 1996, Boston won a respite from soaring homicide rates.

The appearance of new gangs and a number of gang-related murders in 1990-2000 have made it clear that lasting solutions will require continuing collaboration and innovation, which in turn require sustaining the sense of common purpose that made collaboration possible in the first place. It is easy to describe specific initiatives and how they added up to the Boston Strategy, much more difficult to capture the spirit that inspired and guided them. Yet both are equally important parts of Boston’s story.

You can read about The Boston Strategy here online by clicking the links, or download a copy (107K) of the complete Story text in Adobe Acrobat.


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