Montgomery, Alabama Is Number 42 In Homicides This Year; Craig Boykin Is Working to 'Stop the Violence' and Keep Youth on the Right Track

Craig Boykin was working on two presentations this week aimed at helping the area's youth stay straight while on a road that's often plagued with violence.

Murder victim's brother-in-law speaks out: Craig Boykin's brother-in-law, Clem Hill, was the city's 41st homicide. Boykin, founder of United Dream Montgomery, has made it his mission to reach out to youth and keep them on the right track. More of his story in Sunday's Montgomery Advertiser.
It is a road he understands well -- one that found him out of high school in the 10th grade, and in jail at 18. However, despite being surrounded early on by drugs and violence, Boykin was able to turn things around. He is now working toward his PhD in adult education at Auburn University, and he speaks to youth groups and more as part of a grassroots organization he founded called United Dream Montgomery, which tries to bring together different groups to combat what police have called a "tsunami of violence" on our city's streets.

As he prepared his presentations Monday, Boykin received a phone call: Clem Hill, his brother-in-law, had been fatally shot on a Montgomery street corner. Stunned, sad and angry, he asked himself, "Am I fighting a unwinnable fight?"

"For the last two days, I've done a lot of soul searching," he said. "I went to sleep, my brother-in-law was dead, the 41st homicide. I'm starting to question how much of an effect can I really have. I can't reach everybody. I'm at a loss for words."

Familiar scenario
Hill died in the 900 block of West Edgemont Avenue. Police said the shooting stemmed from an ongoing dispute between the victim and the two suspects -- Ryshawn London, 34, and George Cole, 27 -- who were both arrested and charged with one count of murder later Monday.

Hill became the city's 41st homicide of 2013.

The following day, 18-year-old Jevonte Scott was found shot to death in the backyard of a home in the 100 block of Cedar Street.

No. 42.

The rate of murder in Montgomery is a battle being lost by individuals, groups and the local government out fighting to end it.

The question -- What to do about homicides in Montgomery? -- brings different answers, and more questions, after each victim is found. But while the city struggles to find answers, while groups continue to hold rallies, while clergy step up their involvement, and while individuals like Boykin talk to youth groups, not much is changing. The murders keep happening.


Source: Montgomery Advertiser | Kym Klass
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