If Memorial Day is the unofficial start of the summer season for much of the nation, then how do we characterize Dorchester Day?
Truth is, Dot Day is many things to many people. For kids, it’s a particularly magical time when the usually off-limits city streets are converted into a three-mile-long carnival. A neighborhood noted for its parish and village borders is woven together in a massive block party that keeps going long after the street sweepers bring up the procession’s rear.
It wasn’t always such a spectacle. The celebration was conceived by neighbors who communed daily with the Dorchester’s colonial past. First observed in June 1904, the modest event memorialized the 1630 English settlement that grew into a town and later a neighborhood. James H. Stark, the civic-minded leader of the Dorchester Historical Society, envisioned a gathering near the spot where the first Puritan ship —The Mary and John— landed at Savin Hill to “draw the attention of the public to the necessity of preserving to posterity this historic spot.” Some 200 Dot notables turned out to the tented affair, according to the newspapers of the day.
Sunday’s parade — if the sun and the clouds make peace— will likely draw upwards of 100,000 people to the Dot Ave. route. Tens of thousands more will no doubt find their backyards sufficient grounds for a proper salute.
Wherever you choose to spend the day, be sure to raise a glass or a hot dog to toast the men and women who made this year’s parade possible. The all-volunteer crew of the Dorchester Day Parade Committee labors for months at evening and weekend meetings for the benefit of the entire neighborhood. On Sunday, many of these same folks will be scrambling to make sure every detail of the parade goes smoothly, aided as always by officials from several city of Boston departments. (A full list of committee members can be found on Page 9.)
Late word comes from this year’s committee that there is still a pressing need for volunteers to help at the parade’s staging area in Lower Mills. If you’d like to help for a few hours— and get a first-hand look at how this Dot Day extravaganza unfolds— send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a fun, safe and prosperous Dot Day. See you on the Ave!
‘Gang’ flyer a step too far
The decision of the Boston Police Department command staff to circulate a flyer this week with the mugshots of alleged gang affiliates in the Bowdoin Street area is troubling. The flyer came in the days after a particularly heinous murder of 14 year-old Nicholas Fomby-Davis, shot to death by two teen hoodlums who were caught in the act by a fast-acting off-duty Boston cop.
The flyer- which includes mug shots of ten unnamed youths — has not been published by the Reporter, but is in wide circulation in the mass media. Commissioner Ed Davis told the Boston Globe that the purpose of the flyer is to make “the individuals who are responsible for the execution of a 14 year-old boy outcasts in their own neighborhood.” But the two teens who are now held without bail for Fomby-Davis’ murder are already in custody and the teens shown on the flyer are apparently not wanted by police. Sadly, if we want to shame someone, we have enough actual accused criminals in our mix whose faces and names can be published. Suggesting that these anonymous faces are also complicit in the killing runs the risk of further retaliatory violence and mistaken identity. -BF