Life in Mission Hill: Betty Walker

Life in Mission Hill: Betty Walker

By Joshua Qualls

“I try not to worry about Mission Hill because I know Mission Hill is going to take care of itself,” Betty Walker said. “In the future, it probably would be better than it’s going to be now.”

Walker, 74, moved to Boston in 1965 from Augusta, Georgia. She lived in Dorchester until about 18 years ago, when she moved into her current home on McGreevey Way.

She is president and co-chair of the Mission Main Tenant Task Force. Her organization advocates for tenants’ rights.

What she likes most about living in Mission Hill is how close it is to colleges, hospitals and transportation. Everything is within walking distance, and she doesn’t have to go far to get what she needs.

“The neighborhood hasn’t changed,” she said. “Maybe some of the people have, but other than that it’s good.”

Violence and drugs have always been problems. But Walker said the violence has calmed down some in recent years. And according to her, rental units like the Mission Main apartments have unfairly gained bad reputations.

“People say the projects [are] bad, but it’s not the project that’s bad. It’s the people that make the project bad,” she said. “All in all, it’s still a good place to live.”

Walker grew up with an aunt living in subsidized housing, so she has always had positive associations with public housing. But she suggested that the housing authorities should find a better way to screen applicants.

As part of her responsibilities, she coordinates large annual events. The task force throws a “Family Day” cookout in July and organizes public celebrations for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Walker hasn’t lived in Mission Hill for as long as some of her friends, but she found a community there.

“I used to say I wanted to move,” she said, reflecting on her initial impression of Mission Hill. “I’ll be here. I’ll be here.”

About this project 

The Scope’s student journalists spoke with community members in Mission Hill. #MissionHill100 is a collection of their stories. 

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