You…plus two – in memoriam 6

The is written in memory of the victims of two separate, unrelated (so we are told) murders of a total of 5 women on Harlem Street in a section of Dorchester, which is part of Boston in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts of the United States of America on the planet Earth. Victims: Stephanie Emile (21) and Judith Emile (23), sisters,  were found dead on November 14, 2011.  Victims: Sharrice Perkins (22), Genevieve Philip (22), Kristen Lartey (22) , friends,  were murdered August 12, 2012.  One young woman survived the August 12th massacre.  I do not know her name. 

I did not know any of these young women but I have been blessed to live have memories of my early twenties.  It never occured to me that I would not survive my twenties.  I am a mother and a grand and a daughter and a sister and an aunt and a human being and this and all the other murders break my heart, rock my core and hurt my spirit.  I hope the victims find peace in your rest.  I pray that those of us who survive find a way to help young people especially those young men who have found killing to be a solution and a response, to find another way.

You…plus two – in memorium

#1 – Beware

Sometimes you just don’t want to go along for the ride.

Listen to that voice that whispers, “Don’t go, stay in tonight.”

Pay attention when something doesn’t feel quite right.


Oh, my sister, why didn’t you heed that voice?


Some friends can’t accompany us on our whole journey.

Your roads forked, you chose different paths.

You can remember them fondly but you should never rejoin.


Oh, my daughter, why didn’t you stay away?


Some thrills are only meant for movies/books/video games.

Not for real life, not on your street, not on any street anywhere at all.

Not to actual people.


Oh, young woman, why did you get in that car to go to that place you didn’t belong?


Sometimes you have to say no, nada, nyet

No matter how fiercely they push you, plead with you, tease you.

Be a square; go nowhere with them.


Oh sweet angel, why couldn’t your fly away?


Some people are not the people you should choose

No matter how long you’ve known them.

Some parties you should not attend

No matter that people you think you know will be there.

Some chances you should not take.

Some choices you should not make.


Oh, children beware the company you keep.

Evil has a long memory, an infinite reach and

 a fierce appetite for the young, the young, the young.


#2 – He.

You…plus two…the shooter decided when he unloaded.

He lacked precision.

He lacked imagination

He couldn’t envision a different life.


He did not embrace his chance

to escape and be different if not more.


He does not understand that living well is the best and only true revenge.

Not living underground stuck in a compound of mere blocks and self-prescribed limits.


He imagines he is a king but he owns nothing but guns and cowardice.

He earns nothing but fear and a looming deadline with death.

He builds nothing, plants nothing, reaps nothing –

But despair.

He hurts only his people and other people who look like him

And eventually himself as he reaps what he sowed.


Be banished forever murderer:

To clean nuclear waste,

To lands stripped of life.

To places where no one knows your name or speaks your language.

Whose food you cannot swallow and whose water is scarce and poisoned.


You who could not aim straight for the one you intended (not that she deserved to die)

You couldn’t stand up like a man and fight face-to-face, hand-to-hand.

You have no boundaries, no decency and no defense.


Whoever you are.

You aimed for one

But took two more

And injured a third

And stained a city

And caused mothers and fathers,

Brothers and sisters,

Neighbors and strangers to cry.




#3 – Who? 

Are we never to have fun?

Are we never to gather?

Never throw a party?

Attend a family barbecue?


Is there safety in numbers?

Safety alone?

Safety at school?

Safety at home?


Safety in the car?

Safety on the T?

Safety anywhere

near or far?


Where is our safety?

Where do we belong?

What is the password?

What secret keeps us strong?


Who are our protectors?

Where can we grow/blossom/bloom?

When will someone champion us?

Are we groomed for doom?


Candelaria Silva-Collins

August 2012



About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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6 thoughts on “You…plus two – in memoriam

  • Lilly

    Outstanding post. And what a tragedy for everyone involved. It is so hard to contemplate why this could happen. Such beautiful young women with the world at their feet. “Are we groomed for doom?” So true. I hope they find whoever was responsible for these murders and get them the help they clearly need. Life is so precious and we take it for granted. I pray for everyone involved. You are such a gifted writer. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Carol

    Beautifully said, Candelaria. I want to send this to Susan’s kids and everyone I know. We all share in this sad state, and I appreciate the time you took to express yourself so eloquently.