FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why is there a Mother’s Day Walk for Peace?
The Mother’s Day Walk for Peace is an annual fundraiser for the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute. Our goal is to raise $400,000 so we can so we can expand the services, training, and advocacy work we do. The Walk is also an opportunity for families across the region to honor the lives of our loved ones who have been killed.
The Mother's Day Walk for Peace started in 1996 so mothers of murdered children could receive support and love from their neighbors. Twenty-three years later, the Mother’s Day Walk continues to be a powerful way to honor our loved ones who have been murdered and embrace our shared responsibility to create more peaceful communities.
I’d like to participate in the Walk though some of my friends are concerned about going to Dorchester.
The Walk is a safe, family friendly event. We encourage you to come and experience the beauty and assets of all the neighborhoods in between Fields Corner and Boston City Hall. The media tends to focus only on the bad things that happen in Dorchester and Roxbury, rather than the families who want to raise our children in peaceful communities and all the peacemaking work we do. The stereotypes and stigma imposed on urban neighborhoods actually prevents families who live here from receiving the support and services we deserve. The Mother’s Day Walk for Peace is an opportunity to resist shame and blame, and demand dignity and compassion for all families.
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?
Some people have told us that participating in the Mother's Day Walk for Peace marked the beginning of a process of challenging assumptions they had about what causes violence in urban neighborhoods. 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 also recognize that trauma is generational and fuels cycles of violence. We encourage Walkers to consider the root causes of violence including lack of access to adequate housing, healthcare, education, and employment. We also ask Walkers to invest in community-based solutions like the Peace Institute’s programs and services in response to these complex problems.
Why is there such a division between our communities?
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 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 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 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
Origin of Mother’s Day – Did You Know?
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. So, 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.