Roxbury community activist set to open Violence in Boston Social Impact Center for the public

BOSTON — Roxbury community activist Monica Cannon Grant has been on the frontline of the fight against gun violence in Boston.

She created the “Violence in Boston” hashtag to call attention to shootings in her neighborhood -- and call public officials to action.

“I was a regular Mom. I did three years of college to be a nurse and someone tried to kill my son, and from that frustration I joined every community organization I could, the NAACP, the citywide council, just trying to figure out why this was OK,” she said.

In 2016, Cannon Grant ran for state representative of her district.

In 2017, she organized the “Fight Supremacy” counterprotest, mobilizing an estimated 45,000 people.

“It’s 2020. We’re no longer dealing with the situation with young people where, they’re gangs. We have PTSD shooters. We’re dealing with young people who have unaddressed trauma,” she said.

Her in-your-face attitude has often put her at odds with the Boston Police Department and City Hall.

"I got really frustrated with Marty Walsh and for 269 days, I tweeted him every day about what he was gonna do, and I wanna say the 269th day he called, and he said, 'Let’s sit down and have a conversation' and we did," she said.

“I’m used to starting fights. But I think oftentimes we get caught up in the activism and we have a hard time transitioning over to organizer,” she said. “And for me, it was like, 'OK, we can yell, we can scream, we can consistently point out the disparity, what’s next?”

She now has 4,000-square-foot space, and plans to hire other people.

Cannon gave Boston 25 a tour of the Violence in Boston Social Impact Center which houses a food pantry, offices, a podcast studio and recording space.

There will be direct access to mental health and social services.

Microsoft donated 10 computers. Others donated furniture and supplies.

And just in time for her grand opening.

A documentary about her life is scheduled to be released on April 3.

“It took a lot of work to get here,” she said.