Mourners in Mattapan on Friday gave an emotional sendoff to a youth advocate who was fatally stabbed near his home on Memorial Day.
Ivol Brown spent his early teenage years on the streets, dealing drugs and getting locked up. But he turned his life around after obtaining a job with a local community group. He also led a campaign to create summer jobs for teens, until he was killed.
Brown was 17.
Dozens of young people turned out for his funeral, wailing and fainting before the service started.
"He wasn't afraid to ask the questions that no one wanted to ask," said Hector Negron, who worked with Brown on the summer jobs campaign. "He wasn't afraid to stand up for those no one wanted to stand up for."
At the Friday service, Rev. Arlene Hall told church members they must lead the charge against violence, and she thanked public officials for attending.
"By them being here this morning, they're making a statement that, as a city, we're standing together as we strive for peace," she said.
Among those in attendance were state Sen. Sonya Chang-Diaz, state Rep. Willy Mae Allen and City Councilor Ayanna Pressley.
Councilor Charles Yancey said such violence is not normal, and is unacceptable.
"Seventeen years of age," he said. "What would have happened if we lost Malcom X at the age of 17? What would have happened if we lost Rosa Parks at the age of 17? What would have happened if we lost Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the age of 17?
"This untimely death is a challenge," Yancey added, "not just to the family, not just to this community, but it's a challenge to society at large. This should not be happening."
Police say they have no information on a suspect or motive for the stabbing.
This program aired on June 11, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.