Special to South Florida Times
BOYNTON BEACH — The recent murder of two sisters in their home sent hundreds of residents into the streets and to a rally calling for an end to violence.
The “Boynton United 2 Bury The Violence” march and rally on April 28 started at the Boynton Beach City Hall and moved down Seacrest Boulevard, ending at the Ezell Hester Community Center, 1901 N. Seacrest Blvd.
Event organizer Rae Whitely said by 7:30 a.m. some 800 supporters had already showed up and he estimated up to 3,000 residents joined the march.
“There has just been such a spirit of fear. We wanted that to end. The community really came together,” Whitely said. “We want to increase communication with one another and increase the oneness. If the members of the community start talking to each other, I believe you’ll see a drop in the violence.”
The march was ignited by the March 17 murder of Daphne Clemons, 41, and Janice Rahming, 54, who were shot and killed at their home on Northeast Second Court.
Reportedly, the shootings may have been in retaliation for a previous killing not directly connected to the sisters but that has not been confirmed.
Boynton Beach Police Chief Matthew Immler said the sisters’ killing was most likely a retaliation crime but the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating and no new details about the case were released.
Immler said the march was an important step in curbing violence, in general.
“The purpose of the march was to make people aware that we each have a part in stopping the violence,” Immler said. “Stamping out violent acts (takes a community). The march is indicative that there are a lot of people who care.”
Boynton United 2 Bury The Violence was formed in response to a wave of violence that has affected the city in recent years.
The purpose of the group is to unify diverse communities, provide sustainability to neighborhoods and increase security and law enforcement presence at parks, according to the Boynton United website.
Whitely said violence has plagued Boynton Beach for years and residents were fed up.
“We weren’t just marching against gun violence but (also) domestic violence…violence that happened 30 years ago,” he said. “The murders (of Dahpne Clemons and Janice Rahming) were just the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back.’”
Whitely said Boynton United will host a summit titled, Does It Take a Village to Raise a Child?, at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 24 at St. Johns Missionary Baptist Church, 900 N. Seacrest Blvd., Boynton Beach.
The Boynton United Choir, which includes members from 11 churches throughout the city, will perform at a St. Johns revival service at 7 p.m. Friday, May 11.
Residents and community leaders are working with Boynton Beach police in an effort to reduce crime, Whitely said.
Immler welcomed the community involvement, saying it was imperative in stemming the violence.
“The community has to work with the police department to make sure their neighborhood is a safer place,” Immler said. “We operate as an extension, an arm of the community to make it safer. People can give information that may be helpful to the police for any crime. If you have information to something that might be detrimental to the community, let the police know.”
Photo: ALAN LUBY/FOR SOUTH FLORIDA TIMES
MARCHING AGAINST VIOLENCE: Residents staged a “Boynton United 2 Bury The Violence” march and rally on April 28 against violence.