Gelzinis: Tragedy drives revs into action


Gelzinis: Tragedy drives revs into action

o hear Rev. Mark Scott speak about his “Clergy Deployment Plan,” you might think he drafted the whole thing over the weekend, as a response to the rogue clergy­man, Shaun O. Harrison, who allegedly shot a young drug dealer execution-style — an English High student he was supposed to be “mentoring.”

Truth is, Mark Scott, of the Ella J. Baker House in Dorchester, has been working for more than a year on his idea to have ministers create a partnership with police, social workers, probation officers and street workers.

It’s a back-to-the-future idea — back to the days of the so-called Boston Miracle and operations dubbed “Nightlight” and “Homefront,” when teams of ministers, cops, probation officers and school police quite literally made sure that the kids they were tracking were at home, if not in bed.

The father of probation in Dorchester District Court, William J. “Billy” Stewart, one of the architects of the Boston Miracle, was once asked what happened to the Miracle and the TenPoint-Coalition of black clergy.

“It’s quite simple actually,” Billy replied. “One TenPoint Coalition turned into 10 one points.”

In other words, success bred egos determined to do their own thing. And two decades later we have an anti-gang preacher in the arraignment dock accused of attempted murder and facing a slew of drug and weapons charges.

As Billy Stewart so succinctly put it, “A guy who was supposed to be mentoring kids wound up exploiting them.”

Scott wondered yesterday if the rogue rev was actually working for his cadre of young thugs instead of the other way around.

“I haven’t seen or spoken to Shaun Harrison for over a year,” he said. “Few if any of us in the Black Ministerial Alliance have. But I was one who knew him and knew that at one point he did do some inspired work with kids on the edge.

“But Shaun always chafed at being part of a larger structure. He always wanted to do it his way.”

And so he did.

What Scott envisions is a corps of ministers whose credentials will be scrutinized and assigned to a team of Boston police, school cops and social and street workers.

“We need to make sure we are collaborating,” Scott said, “that we are transparent, that we provide opportunity for people who want to work with troubled youth, but do it in a way that’s safe for them, safe for the people they’re reaching out to and do it in a way that doesn’t burn them out.”

The desire to help save kids is noble, but it’s not enough. Mark Scott, who’s worked at it for most of his adult life, says what potential saviors need is structure and accountability.

The alternative is Rev. Shaun Harrison.

o hear Rev. Mark Scott speak about his “Clergy Deployment Plan,” you might think he drafted the whole thing over the weekend, as a response to the rogue clergy­man, Shaun O. Harrison, who allegedly shot a young drug dealer execution-style — an English High student he was supposed to be “mentoring.”

Truth is, Mark Scott, of the Ella J. Baker House in Dorchester, has been working for more than a year on his idea to have ministers create a partnership with police, social workers, probation officers and street workers.

It’s a back-to-the-future idea — back to the days of the so-called Boston Miracle and operations dubbed “Nightlight” and “Homefront,” when teams of ministers, cops, probation officers and school police quite literally made sure that the kids they were tracking were at home, if not in bed.

The father of probation in Dorchester District Court, William J. “Billy” Stewart, one of the architects of the Boston Miracle, was once asked what happened to the Miracle and the TenPoint-Coalition of black clergy.

“It’s quite simple actually,” Billy replied. “One TenPoint Coalition turned into 10 one points.”

In other words, success bred egos determined to do their own thing. And two decades later we have an anti-gang preacher in the arraignment dock accused of attempted murder and facing a slew of drug and weapons charges.

As Billy Stewart so succinctly put it, “A guy who was supposed to be mentoring kids wound up exploiting them.”

Scott wondered yesterday if the rogue rev was actually working for his cadre of young thugs instead of the other way around.

“I haven’t seen or spoken to Shaun Harrison for over a year,” he said. “Few if any of us in the Black Ministerial Alliance have. But I was one who knew him and knew that at one point he did do some inspired work with kids on the edge.

“But Shaun always chafed at being part of a larger structure. He always wanted to do it his way.”

And so he did.

What Scott envisions is a corps of ministers whose credentials will be scrutinized and assigned to a team of Boston police, school cops and social and street workers.

“We need to make sure we are collaborating,” Scott said, “that we are transparent, that we provide opportunity for people who want to work with troubled youth, but do it in a way that’s safe for them, safe for the people they’re reaching out to and do it in a way that doesn’t burn them out.”

The desire to help save kids is noble, but it’s not enough. Mark Scott, who’s worked at it for most of his adult life, says what potential saviors need is structure and accountability.

The alternative is Rev. Shaun Harrison.

http://www.bostonherald.com/news_opinion/columnists/peter_gelzinis/2015/03/gelzinis_tragedy_drives_revs_into_action

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