Upham's Corner Online

A Shrine for Jovany - August 2, 2011
May he Rest in Peace

Posted: August 10, 2011     Nancy J Conrad

On August 2, 2009 Ka Karlos (now the unopened Restaurant at 33 Hancock Street) was the scene of a shooting that left two people dead:  Manuel Monteiro, 47, a chef at Ka-Carlos Bar and Grille who died in front of the restaurant and Jovany Eason, 20, who died on Bird Street close to Hancock.

In 2009 in the time of their sadness, the friends of Jovany created an extensive memorial on Bird Street to invite everyone into their public mourning with candles, flowers and other mementos of his life.  That followed a time-honored tradition here in Uphams Corner.

Those who knew Jovany have continued to remember him with street memorials in 2010 and 2011. 

As of August 10, 2011 this years memorial is gone but because of its presence, I, Nancy Conrad, was able to share with others - none of whom I may know - reminders of lives lost and violence perpetrated on the neighborhoods of Uphams Corner, reminders of the pain and a reminder of the humanity we share.

This writer walks the streets of Uphams Corner frequently.  When I see a memorial, I always stop to remember, and I stop to pray.  I am often overcome with sadness and my heart goes out to the family, the friends and the neighbors.  My spirit cries out to reform how we treat each other, that we would come together in peace.

Not everyone sees street shrines in a favorable light.  The following email written on August 9, 2011 suggests a very different view:

Email Dated August 9, 2011

The shrine is for Jovany "JoJo".  The shrine is put up each year (Aug 3rd) on the day he got murdered after an incident at Ka-Carlos. 

Each year I complain about the dangers of these shrines, and the bad image it has for property owners and tenants.  Shrines are bad for the community and bad for business.

Hopefully the City will ban shrines from being put up, and impose the same penalties as vandalism.

Certainly everyone has a right to their opinion.  Listening to this individual's words, though, I am struck by how much this person's use of words suggests a troubling view towards life: "complain, danger, bad image, bad for business."

Complain? Is there really something to complain about? I, personally, do not feel oppressed by street memorials. I want to participate in healing and I believe they help.

Danger? I do not sense danger in the streets and other people openly speak about how safe they feel here in Upham's Corner. Note the sentiment in "I Love Uphams Corner."

Bad image? How does someone being mourned in a street memorial create a bad image? To me, it is a sign of love and remembrance.

Bad for business? How is a street memorial "bad for business"? Do we really believe that I am not going to the corner grocery store because of a street memorial? Actually, I will cross the street to walk next to the memorial as I feel protected by it.

One of our Upham's Corner News readers used the word "emphathy" to describe what is missing from the email.  Is that really true?  Is there anyone who could know or understand the sentiment behind the email, if even the author?

Upham's Corner New is asking that we reach out in an act of caring, that we reach to each other with our arms embraced in love and support. 

Street memorials?  Maybe if we had a handle on the violence, the need for street memorials would disappear.  For today, though, I ask that we continue the street memorials so that we do not forget the people who died.

Article in UC News:  Is Ka Karlos coming back to life?

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