Endangered Concord Toy Store to Get a Fresh Start

The Toy Shop of Concord, located in the historic town of Concord, Mass., is closing its doors after 72 years over disputes with a landlord, but don’t put away the toys just yet. Christina Erne reports on the impact of its closing, and what’s in store for the future of the small business.

Special Report:
Boston 2024

Olympian Task or Guaranteed Gold?

Amid divided public support and concerns about funding, the bid to bring the 2024 Summer Olympic Games here continues as the Boston committee met with the International Olympic Committee in Switzerland today. This special report looks at the pros, the cons, the athletes and the potential roles that Boston’s renowned  institutions of higher learning could play if the Olympic torch is lit here.
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Home Field Advantage:
Games in Boston Could Boost US Medals

Boston is arguably known in American history as much for its sports as firing the first shot in the American Revolution, yet some residents don’t want anything to do with hosting one of the biggest sporting events in the world. However, there’s a bonus to hosting the Olympic games in the U.S. that they may not have considered, Katie Peverada writes.  Story

Colleges, Universities Eye Benefits
of Offering Facilities for Games

Although plans are up in the air, Boston-area colleges and universities are weighing the idea of their campuses being used as venues for the 2024 Summer Olympics. Story

Schools Eye Olympics Benefits, Drawbacks

By Keiko Talley
BU News Service

Although plans are up in the air, Boston-area colleges and universities are weighing the idea of their campuses being used as venues for the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Schools that could play a part include Harvard University, Boston University, Tufts University, Boston College,the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, Northeastern University, and the University of Massachusetts-Boston.

Because of the large amount of space that Harvard University has to offer, it could play a key role in any plans, hosting as many as seven Olympic sporting events. Some events could be held off-campus on campus-owned property.

Because the bid process is still in the preliminary stages, many factors determining which schools would participate are unknown.

“Nobody can really determine exactly whether we would do it and if we did exactly what precise ways it would involve and engage the campus, we just don’t know that yet,” said Stephen Burgay, Senior Vice President of External Affairs at Boston University.

Burgay and representatives from several other schools feel that there are some factors that need to be reviewed before they make a decision on their participation in the Summer Olympics.

The Olympic bid committee is in preliminary stages of speaking with the colleges and universities in creating a potential plan for their intended use.

“We know in general terms the ways in which they would like to use the Boston University campus, and we also know the issues that we have to think about in determining whether to play or not,” said Burgay.

Universities need to consider the impact that hosting the Summer Olympics would have on their summer programs, classes, sports, and conferences. Boston University has been approached about using Agganis Arena for badminton and on-campus housing for international media.

Boston University rents space in student housing to various groups during the summer for conferences and houses summer school students. The university has estimated that they would be able to rent 25 percent of their Student Village 2 housing for the Summer Olympics should they agree to participate.

“We’re not going to use tuition dollars to subsidize it, so the bid committee would have to pay us some type of fair rental value to use our facilities,” Burgay said to lessen worries of students having to pay more for their education due to the university’s choice to participate in the Summer Olympics.

Senior Vice President of External Affairs at Northeastern University, Michael Armini, also says they are in talks with the Olympic bid committee to use Northeastern University’s student housing, West Village, for media housing.

“The dorm that we’ve offered for the international press is one that we believe that we can accommodate them in that particular building, but it’s true that many of our other residence halls will be occupied with people who are in summer programs. But obviously we wouldn’t offer a building that we already have in use for a summer program,” said Armini.

College and university campuses are fairly open, allowing people to pass through freely. However, with the influx of media, athletes, volunteers, workers, and spectators, that would change should the schools hold various Olympic events in 2024.

When the Olympic committee was asked about a possible safety plan for summer programs and current students, committee members reiterated their excitement to be in the talks with so many schools that were interested in participating,

With the concerns also come benefits to hosting Olympic events. The last US cities to host a Summer Olympics were Atlanta and Los Angeles. Both Olympic plans relied heavily on the participation of surrounding colleges and universities in the area, much like the plan for Boston. In the past, colleges and universities in those cities received renovated or new facilities, or money to help their existing facilities.

For example, in 1996 when Atlanta hosted the Summer Olympics, Georgia Tech received more than $240 million in new housing. Morris Brown College and Clark Atlanta University both inherited new stadiums that were built for the field hockey events.

According to the Boston Globe, if Boston is chosen as a host city for the 2024 Summer Olympics, Tufts University would get their seven-decade-old, undersized pool replaced. The University of Massachusetts-Boston would also be keeping 6,000 of the 16,500 beds that would be used for student housing.

The host city will not be determined until 2017, but the decision of participation by colleges and universities in Boston would not come until a few years after, giving the Olympic organizers plenty of time to create a more concrete plan to present to surrounding schools.

“At the end of the day we have an obligation both to our students in terms of the education that we’re delivering during the summer and fiduciary responsibility to the bottom line,” said Burgay.

Although nothing is concrete at such an early stage several schools said that they are accepting of the ideas and think that bringing the Summer 2024 Olympics to Boston would be a great benefit to Boston as a community and to the colleges and universities that would be participating in Olympic events. Several schools have said they encourage the Boston 2024 committee to continue conversations about possible plans for participation.

“We would hope that this proceeds in a way that everything is clear and that there are no surprises as we move ahead,” said Burgay. “As a member of the community we’re rooting for them. We also hope that the level of transparency remains very high.”

Burgay also says that should Boston be named the host city for 2024, he expects that the bid committee would ensure that Boston University is at the table.

Tsarnaev Sentenced to Death

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By Ann O’Neill, Aaron Cooper and Ray Sanchez

BOSTON (CNN) — A federal jury Friday sentenced Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death, the final chapter to a brutal, emotionally exhausting trial that brought forth indelible images of an unspeakable crime.

There was no visible reaction from Tsarnaev, 21. Several survivors and relatives of victims dabbed tears in the quiet courtroom.

Bill and Denise Richard, parents of the bombing’s littlest victim, 8-year-old Martin, looked on stoically from the second row. They were against the death penalty.

The verdict marked the first time in the post-9/11 era that federal prosecutors have won the death penalty in a terrorism case.

Tsarnaev could be sent to death row in Terre Haute, Indiana, but his final destination will not be known until after the judge formally sentences him in court. No sentencing date has been set.

The six counts that brought Tsarnaev a death sentence all relate to the second of two pressure-cooker bombs, which caused the explosion on Boylston Street in front of the Forum restaurant on April 15, 2013. He was not sentenced to death for the first bomb, which was planted by his brother, Tamerlan, nor for the shooting death of MIT officer Sean Collier.

As the lengthy verdict was read, Tsarnaev stood with his head bowed, hands clasped in front of him.

U.S. District Court Judge George O’Toole thanked the defendant’s lawyers and added, “Mr. Tsarnaev has comported himself with propriety.”

When the jury left the courtroom one last time, O’Toole said, “And so, jurors, this is it.” As U.S. marshals stepped forward to take Tsarnaev away, he gave a wry smile.

Survivors of his acts and others reacted immediately.

Sydney Corcoran, who suffered shrapnel wounds; and her mother, who lost both legs, said on Twitter: “My mother and I think that NOW he will go away and we will be able to move on. Justice. In his own words, ‘an eye for an eye.'”

Survivor Jarrod Clowery said he was happy not to have had to make the choice between life and death himself but he stands behind the jury’s decision.

Liz Norden, whose two sons — Paul Norden and J.P. Norden — each had a leg amputated after the attacks, told reporters that the decision was bittersweet.

“There are no winners today but I feel justice for my family,” she said. “I have to watch my two sons put a leg on every day … but I can tell you it feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.”

Survivor Karen Brassard said, “I know there is still a long road ahead … but right now it feels like we can take a breath … Once the verdict came in it was like, ‘Ok, we can start from here and go forward and really feel like it’s behind us.’ There’s nothing happy about having to take somebody’s life.”

U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said the death sentence was the result of a fair and impartial trial.

“Even in the wake of horror or tragedy we are not intimidated by acts of terror or radical ideas,” she said.

The bombings were not a religious crime, Ortiz said, even though the bombers claimed to represent Islam. It was a political crime committed by a pair of adults who adopted an ideology of hate, she said.

“It’s time to turn the page in this chapter,” Ortiz said.

Mayor Martin Walsh, in a statement, thanked the jurors.

“I hope this verdict provides a small amount of closure to the survivors, families, and all impacted by the violent and tragic events surrounding the 2013 Boston Marathon,” he said. “We will forever remember and honor those who lost their lives and were affected by those senseless acts of violence on our city,” he said.

CNN Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin said a years-long appeal process is expected, but “the overwhelming likelihood is that he will die” as the sentence is eventually carried out.

The jury deliberated for more than 14 hours over parts of three days before reaching its sentencing decision. In the wake of Tsarnaev’s conviction in April on all 30 charges against him, jurors were tasked with deciding whether Tsarnaev should be sentenced to life in prison or death.

The horrifying events of the attacks were relived in the Boston courtroom.

Jurors saw the second bomb go off by the Forum restaurant and they viewed videos and photographs of the carnage. They heard the screams and saw people on the street, dying even as bystanders rushed to help. And they heard from people who survived against all odds but continue to struggle with their injuries.

Rescuers spoke of the decisions they had to make in the face of such overwhelming bloodshed: Who could they save, and who should they leave behind?

The bombing of the finish line of the Boston Marathon, recalled other acts of terror on U.S. soil including the attacks of September 11, 2001. The homemade bombs, built with pressure cookers loaded with gunpowder, BBs and nails, also injured at least 240 people; 17 of them lost limbs.

Boston was on edge for days as the suspects remained at large. Finally, on April 18, police released surveillance images of two suspects they called “black hat” and “white hat.” It didn’t take long for the two to be identified as brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Within just a few hours of the release of the photos, a campus police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was shot to death as the fleeing brothers tried to take his gun. But they were thwarted by a locked safety holster.

The Tsarnaevs hijacked a Mercedes SUV; Tamerlan told the driver he was responsible for the marathon bombing. The driver escaped when the brothers stopped at a convenience store for gas and snacks.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a 26-year-old married father and former Golden Gloves boxer, died hours later in a standoff with police in Watertown, a Boston suburb. Out of ammunition, he tossed his empty pistol at an officer and walked into a hail of police bullets. As officers wrestled him to the ground, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev ran at them in the stolen Mercedes SUV, running over his brother and dragging him.

The younger Tsarnaev was finally arrested the next day; he was discovered hiding in a tarp-covered pleasure boat in a Watertown backyard.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hid in the boat for hours. At some point, he picked up a pencil and wrote what prosecutors called his “boat manifesto.” Streaks of blood covered portions of the writing and more than a dozen bullet holes obliterated parts of words.

It said he was “jealous” that his brother had achieved paradise by dying like a holy warrior during the gun battle with police. About the bombings, Tsarnaev wrote that he didn’t enjoy killing innocents, but that circumstances called for it:

“The US Government is killing our innocent civilians but most of you already know that,” he wrote. “Know you are fighting men who look into the barrel of your gun and see heaven, now how can you compete with that. We are promised victory and we will surely get it.”

He wrote that he couldn’t stand to see the U.S. government “go unpunished” for killing Muslims.

“We Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all.”

He ended with: “Now I don’t like killing innocent people it is forbidden in Islam but due to said [word lost to a bullet hole] it is allowed.”

Laid-back terrorist?

In all, the trial consumed 59 court days. More than 150 witnesses testified over 10 weeks and hundreds of exhibits were shared with the jury.

All 12 of the original jurors stayed on the panel throughout the trial; no one asked to be excused. Only one day was lost due to a juror’s illness.

Jury selection began during the first week in January, and 108 inches of snow fell in Boston before it was over. The first witnesses took the stand in early March, and Tsarnaev was found guilty in mid-April. The sentencing stage of the trial began on April 21.

Prosecutors focused their case on the stories of the dead and maimed, and of the brothers’ social media activities and Internet exploration of radical jihad, including an al Qaeda online magazine article called “Build a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom.” It offered detailed instructions for how to construct pipe and pressure cooker bombs.

The defense sought to humanize Tsarnaev, turning its focus on his Russian immigrant family, and particularly on Tamerlan, the older of the two brothers. Defense attorney Judy Clarke said the crimes never would have been committed if not for Tamerlan.

The defense case featured testimony from former teachers, coaches and friends who found Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to be a laid-back, caring friend, industrious student and hard worker. As a youngster, he was academically gifted, overcoming the language barrier and skipping the fourth grade. His report card was studded with A grades.

Clarke emphasized Dzhokhar’s youth and his quiet, “gentle” nature, despite growing up a neglected, “invisible child” in a chaotic family. He became untethered by his father’s disabling slide into mental illness and his mother’s embrace of religious extremism.

When their parents departed for Russia in 2012, Tamerlan became the dominant adult influence in Dzhokhar’s life, she said.

Clarke asked jurors to spare Tsarnaev’s life, saying he is not beyond redemption. A vote for life, she said, is a vote for hope.

But she could not tell the jury the answer to the question that always has lingered over this trial: Why did he do it?

“If you expect me to have an answer, a simple clean answer as to how this could happen, I don’t have it,” she said.

Prosecutors said Tsarnaev sought to make a political statement. The bombing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Mellin said, did exactly what it was meant to: It terrorized Boston and the rest of the country.

The trial highlighted the presence of Big Brother-style surveillance in matters public and private. The Tsarnaevs were visually identified from business surveillance videos of the marathon’s finish line crowd. Jihadi material was retrieved from encrypted computer files, and investigators traced the purchase of the pressure cookers, fireworks, ammunition and an afternoon spent practicing at a New Hampshire shooting range.

Prosecutors cited surveillance video of Tsarnaev buying milk at a Whole Foods Market 20 minutes after the bombing and tweets such as “Ain’t no love in the heart of the city” and “I’m a stress-free kind of guy” as evidence of his callousness.

Investigators were able to retrieve Dzhokhar’s backpack, taken by friends from his dorm room, from a landfill. Inside, they found gunpowder residue and hollowed-out fireworks.

Tsarnaev also obtained a 9mm semiautomatic pistol from a friend; the gun was used to shoot MIT police Officer Sean Collier between the eyes as he sat in his patrol car on the night of April 18. Prosecutors called the shooting “an ambush” and said the brothers were after Collier’s service weapon as they attempted to escape.

Another surveillance camera caught two men running from the shooting; a flash can be seen, the brake lights of Collier’s squad car flicker on, then off, then on again. A passing bicyclist was later identified; he pointed out Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in court as the young man he saw leaning into the patrol car.

The killing of a police officer was, by itself, enough for prosecutors to seek the death penalty. But it came in the aftermath of the main event — the bombing of the Boston Marathon.

The videos and photographs of the bloody mayhem that exploded near the finish line shortly before 3 p.m. on April 15, 2013, were difficult to watch and impossible to forget.

‘This is messed up’

The stories of those killed and maimed were dramatic and haunting. Among them:

• Smoke coming out of Krystle Campbell’s mouth as she screamed. The 29-year-old restaurant manager clutched her best friend’s hand, said her legs hurt and then bled to death in the street. It took all of a minute.

• Lingzi Lu screaming in horror and agony as she covered her eyes with her long, tapered musician’s fingers. The 23-year-old grad student vomited repeatedly as she bled to death. A police officer stood vigil by her side, even after being ordered to leave her body behind at the crime scene. The officer said she didn’t want Lu to be alone.

• Denise Richard, blinded in one eye by bomb shrapnel, crouching over the shredded, 70-pound body of her 8-year-old boy, Martin, begging him to live: “Please, Martin, please!” Her husband, Bill, faced a difficult choice: Stay, or run to save their daughter? He scooped up 6-year-old Jane, her leg gone, and carried her to safety.

• Sydney Corcoran telling jurors what it felt like to slip toward death:

“I was dying. The blood was leaving my body. I was bleeding out. I remember thinking that this was it, I’m going to die, I’m not going to make it. And I remember feeling like I was just going to sleep. And it just felt so cold, and I almost felt peaceful because I just felt like I was going to sleep and I knew I was fading fast.”

• And Jeff Bauman describing his thoughts as he looked down at the place where his legs had been and saw a bloody bone protruding from the torn flesh: “This is messed up.” He said he “knew instantly that my legs were gone.”

In one of the trial’s most dramatic moments, prosecutor Mellin paused during his closing for what turned out to be 20 seconds. He gained the attention of everyone in the courtroom as silence consumed them.

Twenty seconds. It seemed like forever. And then Mellin said: Multiply that pause by 12, and that’s how long Tsarnaev stood with his backpack bomb behind a row of children.

He also brought home the continuing ripples of devastation, ticking off the names of the 17 people who lost limbs in the blast:

Jeff Bauman Erika Brannock Celeste Corcoran Mery Daniel Rebekah Gregory Patrick Downes Jessica Kensky Karen McWatters William White Heather Abbott Roseann Sdoia Marc Fucarile Paul Norden J.P. Norden Adrianne Haslet-Davis Steve Woolfenden Jane Richard

For them, and for the families of Krystle Campbell, Martin Richard, Lingzi Lu and Sean Collier, this case will never be over.

CNN’s Deborah Feyerick contributed to this report.

Composing Calligraphy: Words Inspire Music

Mo Zhao
Mo Zhao

By Dagny Crepeau
BU News Service

Mo Zhao stands wedged into the corner of a tiny practice room in the basement of Boston University’s College of Fine Arts, flipping through pages of sheet music, brow creased in concentration. From a distance, her slight frame almost looks lost in a forest of crooked music stands. Also packed into the cramped space are two cellos and their cellists, a grand piano, a singer, and a cameraman. The small crowd watches Mo expectantly. After a long moment, she glances up at them, and looks surprised to find their eyes trained on her.

“Oh, are we waiting on me?” she asks. They are; it’s a rehearsal of music she wrote.

Mo is many things at once. When she’s working on a piece of music, she is compact, hunching over her work with the air of a surgeon performing a particularly delicate procedure. When she’s relaxing, she stretches and expands, taking up more space with a personality that is often sparklingly witty. She doesn’t speak unnecessarily, but when she does, she regularly comes out with snarky one-liners you wouldn’t have expected from someone who seems so reserved.

“I am 46 years old,” she says monotonously when asked for her age. Almost immediately after, her face splits into an involuntary grin, and she laughs boisterously. “No, no, I’m 22.”

Mo is a senior at Boston University studying music composition. At first glance, she is the stereotypical portrait of an artist. She seems to almost perpetually have sheets of music in her hands, and a pencil can often be found tucked into her right pant pocket, ready to jot down melodies at a moment’s notice. Her short hair is left to do as it pleases, and it frequently ends up in an impressively gravity-defying pose that makes one suspect it was styled by her pillow. She never wears makeup, and her wardrobe is comprised almost exclusively of khaki pants, flannel button-downs, and heavy boots that would look more at home on a burly lumberjack.

As with many artists, Mo considers her appearance secondary to her art, but her androgynous style isn’t just a side effect of her devotion to music. It’s also a reflection of her gender, which she describes as essentially nonexistent.

“I tell people to use whatever pronouns they want,” she says. “I don’t care what gender people associate me with. I don’t really feel that I have a gender.”
She says she once had a French teacher who spent an entire semester referring to her by male pronouns, and it didn’t bother her in the slightest. If anything, she thought it was funny. Mo’s nonchalant attitude toward her gender is often met with frustration from others, who would prefer a clear label to file her under, but she waves off reactions like those with a dismissive shake of her head.

“Not everyone needs a label,” she says. “Why do they care that I don’t care?”

For Mo, the gender other people see her as is a trivial matter the grand scheme of her life. Though it is, like so many other things about Mo, unconventional, her attitude toward this particular aspect of herself echoes the attitude she has toward almost everything else: they take a backseat to her music, and the effects she wants her music to have.

“I know this sounds really cheesy, but I just want to make this world a little better with my music,” Mo says. “I’ll be happy if I get an email from someone one day that says, ‘You know, I was having a really rough time, and your piece made me feel that I’m not alone.’ At the end of the day, that’s what I want.”

Mo was born in Chengdu, the provincial capital of China’s Sichuan province, the “hometown of pandas,” as she calls it. There she began teaching herself to play the piano at the ripe old age of 4, at the behest of her grandparents, and from the first moment her fingers touched the keys, it was loathing at first sight.

“I absolutely hated it,” she says.

Her relationship with music would remain strained until she was 13, when she came under the guidance of a Russian instructor by the name of Tanya Heeb, whose exacting standards pushed Mo to improve her musical abilities. It was the fear of being reprimanded by Heeb at every lesson, Mo says, that motivated her to practice, and practice she did. By the time she graduated high school, she had not only honed a talent for playing the piano and the erhu, a classical Chinese instrument, but she had also developed a remarkable talent for composing music.

Now, in her last few days as an undergraduate, Mo is on the cusp of completing a rite of passage that all music majors must accomplish before graduation: her senior recital. In typical Mo Zhao fashion, she decided to go above and beyond what’s required of her, just because she can. She has composed an hour-long performance comprised of five different musical pieces.

The show will feature 14 BU music students from the College of Fine Arts, the Arneis Quartet, a Boston-based string ensemble comprised of BU alumni, and Sarah Tao He, an internationally renowned erhu player. Brett Abigaña, a composer whose music has been commissioned and performed around the world, will appear as the show’s conductor. Mo laughs as she describes the innumerable amount of email she had to send to assemble such a sparkling company of performers. The show is titled

“Splashes of Ink: A Musical Calligraphy,” and the reference to written art is no accident.

“A lot of it really is inspired by text,” Mo says. “Good poetry, for me, is the thing that inspires me.”

Mo finds much of her musical inspiration in evocative words, especially in the powerful voices of slam poetry. In the past, she’s commissioned spoken word poets to write lyrics to accompany her compositions. Such is the case for one of the pieces for the recital, “The Home(land).” The piece is comprised of two songs, “February Arrived,” and “This Dynasty,” which Mo describes as a “musical, political criticism” of the censorship and propaganda employed by the Chinese communist regime.

The featured vocalist for the piece, which is the only one of the five compositions to include vocals, is Alex Selawsky-Group, a junior voice performance major at BU, and Mo’s longtime friend. This is the third time Selawsky-Group has collaborated on a musical project with Mo, but it is by far the most extravagant, incorporating elements of classical, contemporary, and operatic musical styles to create something that is entirely unique to Mo.

“Mo has a really intuitive ear for what’s going to work, musically,” Selawsky-Group says. “Incorporating influences and pacing things the way she does makes everything really dramatic, and really creates a beautiful narrative.”

Part of Mo’s aspirations for the recital is to draw a larger, more diverse audience than the usual crowd of fine arts students. To achieve this, Mo hired Jack Davidson, a BU alum and multimedia specialist for video game company iRacing. Mo hired Davidson to create a promotional video to be posted on as many social media platforms as possible, in an effort to spread the word about the show far and wide. In the time that Davidson has spent with Mo and her musicians, filming several rehearsals and interviews, he says he has come to admire Mo’s unyielding devotion to her craft, and her efforts to build her music into more than a simple performance.

“I can’t wrap my head around the fact that Mo wrote all this music,” Davidson said. “It’s so foreign to me, how all of this is put together. It’s pretty cool, what she’s trying to do. She’s trying to tell a story.”

Mo herself views her music not just as a performance, but as a challenge. Every concert is a chance to push herself harder, to create pieces that are more innovative, and more evocative. After she graduates from BU in May, she will continue honing her skills at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Regardless of what exactly the future may hold for her in terms of a career in music composition, however, Mo knows she wants her work to evoke emotions and ideas in her audience. She wants to make people think. Music, to Mo, is about pushing boundaries.

“I’m just taking it as far as I can,” she says.

“Splashes of Ink: A Musical Calligraphy,” will be shown at the CFA Concert Hall at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, May 1, and will be free and open to the public.

Anti-police Brutality Movement Set to Grow in Boston

By Sharanya Pillai
BU News Service

Dorchester and Roxbury may see more protests against police brutality in upcoming months, according to organizers of Wednesday’s march in solidarity with Baltimore, who said that they will ramp up their presence in the inner Boston area.

On Wednesday evening, activist group Mass Action Against Police Brutality led more than 500 protesters from the Boston Police Headquartersat 1 Schroeder Plaza to Dudley Square, aiming to show solidarity with Baltimore residents protesting the death of Freddie Gray,  who died after being detained by police last week.

Mass Action member Brenden Larosa, 19, said that the group wants to move away from downtown Boston and engage residents“where the real struggle is”.

“The inner city is where most of the effects are felt, of oppression and police brutality, of capitalism and imperialism,” said Larosa,a sociology major at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. “These kids are struggling from birth, they’re growing up to be revolutionaries.It’s different from growing up where you have everything handed to you.”

While police presence was stepped up at the protest, with dozens of officers following the march on bicycles, Boston Police SuperintendentLisa Holmes said that the force will not interfere. “I understand the anger and the outrage, and they definitely have the right to protest. We’re just here to make sure they don’t get hit by cars,” she said.

Other protestors at the march voiced their support for further action, but on some conditions.

Brandie Skorker, founder of feminist group Guerilla Feminism Boston, felt that protests against police brutality have been “mostly about men”, and wants more representation for women and transgender people in protests against police brutality.

“These rallies don’t talk about black women and girls. And I feel it’s erasing stories of black trans women who are disproportionately targeted for violence,” the 28-year-old said. “I want to let trans women of color know that what they’re experiencing is valid and needs to be talked about more.”

Other protestors, like Larry Fuller Jr., 58, reiterated that violence should never be a solution. “I just want folks to keep calm. I don’t understand how people would be so devastated that they would destroy their own homes. We’re above that. I hope that we set an example for peace in this city, and I want to be part of that.”

First-aid volunteer Kim Robberts, 23, felt that the rally would set a good precedent for future action. “I’m loving the peacefulness today.The only injuries we’ve had are sore throats from chanting,” she quipped.

Mass Action will next hold a community organizing meeting at the Parker Hill Library on May 9.

Take A Bite Out of This Apple

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Apple enthusiasts are rushing to stores for the newest Apple product – the Apple Watch. The watch launched on Friday, April 24th but many critics of the watch wonder if it will truly be successful. BU News Service reporter, Erika Matera Banoun spoke with Michael Obal, an Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Manning School of Business at University of Massachusetts Lowell about his thoughts on the potential of the new product.

Governor’s Review has Mass Environmentalists Worried

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Governor Charlie Baker is calling for a review of all state regulations to weed out rules that are unnecessary or could stifle business.

The review will hone in on any state law that goes beyond federal regulations. There are quite a few of those in the Bay State, especially about the environment, which has the environmental community worried.

Defense Seeking to Humanize Tsarnaev

Transcripts from a sidebar in the Boston Marathon bombing trial yesterday indicate that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s relatives are returning to Russia on Friday. As the penalty phase of the trial continues, the defense will use the Tsarnaev family in court to help humanize Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Keiko Talley took to the court house to learn how.

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