Frequently Asked Questions
Why is there an Annual Mother’s Day Walk for Peace?
The Annual Mother's Day Walk for Peace started in 1996 so mothers of murdered children could receive support and love from their neighbors. Twenty-six years later, the Annual Mother’s Day Walk for Peace continues to be a powerful way to honor loved ones who have been murdered and embrace our shared responsibility in creating more peaceful communities.
The Walk is an annual fundraiser for the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute. Our 2023 goal is $600,000 so that we may sustain the work we do and continue to empower survivors, Generation Peace and communities impacted by murder, trauma, grief and loss to cultivate a cycle of peace and healing.
I’d like to understand more about the neighborhoods we’re walking in. Why is there so much violence in this small cluster of communities?
Historically, the communities of Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan have some of the highest and most concentrated levels of poverty in Massachusetts. Studies have shown that a lack of resources coincides with high levels of violence.
It is easy to look at this problem and focus on a few individuals. In fact, violence is a product of structural issues like institutional racism that leads to economic inequality. We encourage Walkers to consider the root causes of violence including lack of access to adequate housing, healthcare, education and employment.
In addition, segregation is an ongoing reality in Boston. This area has a history of what’s known as “redlining,” or contracts and bank lending policies that restricted eligibility for mortgages based on race. Boston continues to have one of the highest rates of income inequality in the country and now one of the highest costs of living. This has fueled intense gentrification in our neighborhoods, with families who can no longer afford to live here being pushed out of town.
The lack of resources and systematic oppression in Boston has not only been the catalyst for violence in these neighborhoods but has also fueled the cycle of violence.
Why is there such a division between our communities?
The Annual Mother’s Day Walk for Peace is a celebration of our potential to create and sustain more peaceful communities, where all families are valued and have what they need. Sometimes strong feelings may come up for people as they walk alongside families whose loved one was murdered. We encourage you to reflect on your experience especially if you are new to neighborhoods you’re walking through. How can you deepen your understanding of the root causes of violence, including racism? What can you do in your own community to address violence and racism? We appreciate you for stepping out of your comfort zone to witness the assets in our community and show support and love for families impacted by murder.
At the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute, we embrace our shared responsibility. All of us have a role in peacemaking. “Violence is not the problem of one neighborhood or group, and the response and solutions are not the responsibility of one sector of the community or of one agency, professional group, or business. Coming together and owning this problem and the solutions are central.” -Dr. Deborah Prothrow-Stith, Harvard School of Public Health”
What is the origin of Mother’s Day?
In the United States, social activist Julia Ward Howe inspired the earliest Mother’s Day observance after the American Civil War. Howe, who wrote the words to the Battle Hymn of the Republic, was horrified by the carnage of the Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War. In 1870, she began a one-woman peace crusade and made an impassioned "appeal to womanhood" to rise against war. It was due to her efforts that in 1873, women in 18 cities in America held a Mother's Day for Peace gathering.