Letter to the Editor: We Need to Keep Our Promise to Youth of Boston’s Latin Quarter

I am writing this letter to call on the Hyde Square Task Force, elected officials, and our entire community to come together to find a solution to the future of the Blessed Sacrament Church. The announced decision that the church will be sold with no restrictions for luxury housing or some other use that won’t benefit the Latin Quarter will hurt both the future of our neighborhood and the legacy of a great organization that has done so much for the youth of our community. I was born and raised in the Dominican Republic and have lived in Jamaica Plain since 1975, raising two kids as a single mother. I have owned a business here since 1980 and participated as an active volunteer for almost 40 years in the Business Association, Main Street program, Mount Pleasant Home, Spring House, and also with the Hyde Square Task Force. My two children and three siblings were educated at Blessed Sacrament School and my children were baptized in the church, which we attended every Sunday.

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Alison Moronta, business development director for the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Association, shares a smile with Jason Waddleton, owner of The Haven, which hosted a meeting of Hyde and Jackson Square business owners on May 13, 2015.

Biz Leaders in Hyde and Jackson Squares Aim to Work Together

[Editor's note: This report is being reproduced in English by kind arrangement with El Mundo Newspaper, where it originally appeared.]

Business owners in two of Boston’s most Latino neighborhoods, Hyde and Jackson squares in Jamaica Plain, aim to work together to bring in more customers. In two recent sessions hosted by Hyde Jackson Square Main Street and the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corp., a total of more than 30 business owners strategized on how to improve the business environment. Business owners at the first meeting, held May 13 at the Julia Martin House, focused on safety, parking and cleanliness, said Rafael Mejia, owner of Evelyn’s Market and president of the Hyde Jackson Square Merchants Association. Mejia said business owners want to give people more reasons to go into Hyde and Jackson squares. “A lot of people don’t know what’s in the neighborhood,” Mejia said.

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Latina Entrepreneurs Aim to Thrive as Hyde Square Changes

Damaris Pimentel, owner of Ultra Beauty Salon, colors Rose Moorachian's hair. November 2014. Credit: Esther Ro

Running a small business is no easy task. Just ask longtime Jamaica Plain entrepreneurs Damaris Pimentel and Patria Valenzuela. The two business pioneers face the challenge of thriving in the midst of a gentrifying neighborhood.

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