Last night, members of the Pawtucket community came together to lock arms for peace, in an event organized by #300women. There have been at least 6 shootings in the city recently, according to Pawtucket resident Melissa DaRosa. She spends her days patrolling the city through the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence.

Credit: Andie Corban.

DaRosa and about a dozen members of the Pawtucket community locked arms and chanted for peace in front of Payne Park, which is across the street from a convenience store. Local kids have made the spot a hangout, which worries DaRosa.

“A lot of my job lately is to come out here and help these kids get off the corner because they’re at risk by just standing here all day. So if I get them a job, that takes the out of here for 8 hours. But there’s a lot of them, and it takes time. I’ve been able to get some guys jobs, and been able to get some guys back to school, but one person at a time,” says DaRosa.

DaRosa took time to chat with everyone who walked by during the event.  She has been living in Pawtucket all of her life, and jokingly refers to herself as the mayor of the city.

“Today was beautiful. I really want the kids to understand that I’m connected to people, and I want them to listen to me when I talk. I want them to know when I say, hey, go somewhere at 10 o’clock that they should really go because it’s going to benefit them and I’m advocating for them,”  DaRosa says.