Amidst heaviness, Families Find Hope at the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute’s 22nd Annual Mother’s Day Walk for Peace

For Immediate Release                                                                                      
Contact: Mallory Hanora (860-268-1369)

mallory@ldbpeaceinstitute.org
Sunday May 13, 2018                                                                                                  

Amidst heaviness, Families Find Hope at the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute’s 22nd Annual Mother’s Day Walk for Peace 

BOSTON, MA: Thousands of people walked from Town Field in Dorchester to Boston City Hall on Mother’s Day demanding dignity and compassion for all families impacted by murder. Survivors of homicide victims wore tee shirts and carried banners memorializing their family members with messages of love.  While recent murders in the city have caused residents pain and anguish, the Walk for Peace was an opportunity to focus on the assets in communities and take steps toward healing.

“I’m walking with the hope that one day no mother, father, or family will have to suffer the loss of a child,” Elisha Ross said shared at the Opening Ceremony on Sunday. Her son Michael Ross was killed on March 30. “Today, I choose to allow love and forgiveness to rule the moment. It’s where I find my most inner peace and strength in the midst of my pain. I choose to take control rather than be controlled. The love I have for Michael, along with my memories of him, will live forever.”

New survivors and survivors whose loved ones were killed years or decades ago walked side by side with neighbors, allies, clergy, business owners, providers, and elected officials in an powerful expression of unity. Over 225 Walk teams registered and raised money to expand Peace Institute’s services, training, and advocacy work. The Peace Institute is the only organization in the Commonwealth that supports and guides families of murder victims from death notification through the funeral and burial process and offers ongoing healing programming.  The organization also trains law enforcement officials and public health professionals to respond equitably and effectively when a homicide happens.

“As caregivers, we know firsthand how violence impacts the patients and families we serve," said Kevin Tabb, MD, CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Co-Chair of the Mother's Day Walk for Peace.  "The Mother’s Day Walk for Peace is a marker of healing and a celebration of the potential to create safe communities, and we are proud to walk in lockstep with the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute -not just today but every day.”

Peace Institute staff, survivors, and supporters celebrated a major legislative victory at this year’s Walk. Governor Charlie Baker recently signed the Criminal Justice reform bill which included language to amend the state’s Victim Compensation statute to ensure that family members of murder victims who apply cannot be denied reimbursement for funeral and burial costs.  Interventions like these mitigate trauma and interrupt cycles of retaliatory violence. 

“The success of the Victim Compensation legislation is a testament to the hard work of the many survivors who were relentless in their advocacy. Packing hearing rooms, sharing testimony, and recruiting supporters, they assured that the legislation would become law in one session,” said lead sponsor of the legislation Representative Evandro Carvalho. “This is a tremendous feat which will assure that future survivors will have access to much needed resources. No longer will they be denied burial funding as they work through the overbearing trauma that accompanies the loss of a loved one to homicide.”

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More information:

The Louis D. Brown Peace Institute is a center of healing, teaching, and learning for families and communities impacted by murder, grief, trauma, and loss. The vision of the Peace Institute is to create and sustain communities where all people are valued and all families can live in peace.

Chaplain Clementina Chery co-founded the Peace Institute in 1994 in honor of her oldest son Louis D. Brown. Louis was caring, compassionate, and an avid reader.  He was committed to making his community a more peaceful and just place and believed all young people have the potential to be peacemakers. Louis had the long-term goal of becoming the first Black president of the United States. Louis was killed in the cross-fire of a shootout in 1993 when he was fifteen years old.

The Mother’s Day Walk for Peace is a celebration of our potential to create more peaceful communities. Every year families from across the state and region walk together toward peace. The Mother’s Day Walk is also the Peace Institute’s most important fundraising event.  In 2018, our goal is to raise $400,000 to expand our services, training, and advocacy work.

The Mother's Day Walk for Peace started in 1996 so mothers of murdered children could receive support and love from their neighbors. Twenty-one 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 partners in peacemaking.

 

Louis D. Brown Peace Institute will Lead March from Dorchester to City Hall to Demand “Dignity and Compassion for All!”

For Immediate Release                                                                        
Contact: Mallory Hanora
617-825-1917 / 860-268-1369
May 3, 2018                                                                                                  

Louis D. Brown Peace Institute will Lead March from Dorchester to City Hall to Demand            “Dignity and Compassion for All!”

WHAT:           
Boston, MA - On Sunday May 13, survivors of homicide victims and their neighbors will participate in the 22nd Annual Mother’s Day Walk for Peace. The Walk for Peace started in 1996 so mothers could receive support and honor the lives of their murdered children. This year, the Walk takes place just a few weeks after the #MarchForOurLives and will be an opportunity for residents concerned about gun violence to take action locally and support families impacted by murder.

The Mother’s Day Walk for Peace also comes shortly after Governor Charlie Baker signed landmark criminal justice reform legislation. The Peace Institute is celebrating successful efforts to amend the Victim Compensation statute by including language to ensure that family members of murder victims who apply cannot be denied reimbursement for funeral and burial costs. Now there will be more equitable access to the resources families need to heal. Lead sponsor Representative Evandro Carvalho will speak at the Walk along with former State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, Attorney General Maura Healey, and District Attorney Dan Conley who actively supported the Peace Institute’s legislation. 

Survivors, providers, allies, community-based organizations, the faith community, and elected officials worked together so that all families of murder victims can lay their loved one rest with dignity and compassion regardless of the circumstances. These leaders and advocates will join thousands of people walking 6.8 miles from Dorchester to a Peace Flag raising ceremony at City Hall. The Walk will happen rain or shine.  The lead sponsors of the Walk are the Martin Richard Foundation and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Funds raised at the Mother’s Day Walk for Peace will support the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute’s critical services, training, and advocacy work across the state. For more information visit: www.mothersdaywalk4peace.org

WHO:             
Attorney General Maura Healey, Massachusetts
Honorable Linda Dorcena Forry, former State Senator from Dorchester                        Representative Evandro Carvalho, Dorchester                       
District Attorney Dan Conley, Suffolk County
Kevin Tabb, MD, CEO Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Pete Healy, President Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Latoyia Edwards, Anchor, NBC10 Boston
Chaplain Clementina Chery, President and CEO Louis D. Brown Peace Institute             

WHEN:            Sunday, May 13, 2018
WHERE:         
8:00 AM -Walk Program and Kick-Off from Town Field, 1520 Dorchester Ave, Dorchester
9:30 AM -Walk Launches from Madison Park High School, 75 Malcolm X. Blvd. Roxbury Crossing
11:00 AM - Peace Rally and Flag Raising at City Hall Plaza

#MarchforOurLives Statement

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“If true peace is to be achieved, it will be up to my generation –regardless what side of the streets they come from.” – Louis David Brown

The Peace Institute is filled with hope after a weekend of action across the county with the goal of creating and sustaining communities that are free from gun violence. The Peace Institute has been working toward that vision since the murder of Louis David Brown in 1993. Louis was a young champion of peace who, like so many young people in the streets this weekend, was tired of seeing his friends end up dead. He believed and we believe teenagers have the power to make monumental change as we’ve seen again and again throughout history. Young people: we’re grateful for your courage.

We’re moved by the principle of unity as we see youth from different races and class backgrounds come together to address the violence that happens in our respective communities. We’re amplifying the leadership of survivors of color, because Black and Brown people are most impacted by both homicide and by the criminalization of gun ownership.  Without recognizing that racism is a root cause of violence in this country, we cannot heal from these wounds.

Over the past two decades, the Peace Institute has worked alongside likeminded advocates of all ages through many waves of advocacy for more and better gun control. We’ve provided emotional and practical support to hundreds of survivors in the aftermath of their loved one’s murder. Many of these murders were not covered on the news, like a homicide that happened in our city less than twelve hours after Boston’s #MarchforOurLives. All families of homicide victims deserve to be treated with dignity and compassion, whether their loved one was murdered in a school or on a street corner. We will strengthen our movement by rejecting the idea that only some victims are worthy of our grief, leaving others to be overlooked or forgotten.

We mourn all murder victims – from Parkland to Dorchester – and acknowledge the pain and anger families are feeling. After a homicide families experience physical, emotional, and financial stress that can destabilize entire communities. We’re committed to serving these families, and working with partners and allies around the country to ensure they have equitable and effective responses in place no matter where or when violence occurs. These interventions have and will interrupt cycles of violence.

Now is the time to push the conversation past the reflexive calls for more police, swifter prosecutions, and longer prison sentences. In this movement moment, let’s focus on primary prevention. Our young people need social-emotional learning in schools, culturally responsive mental and physical health care, and opportunities to heal from the trauma of bearing witness to and surviving violence. Adults must also have spaces and strategies for healing, teaching, and learning that allow us to address our unresolved grief that compounds generational trauma.

The solutions to the crisis of gun deaths are not simple, nor limited to legislative change. We need a cultural transformation. True peace is only possible when all families are valued and have what they need to live well. Concrete commitments can help us move past feeling scared and overwhelmed. One way to take action locally and support the survivor community is to join us at our 22nd Annual Mother’s Day Walk for Peace on May 13. Our doors are open to you and your family.  

CHALLENGE GRANT TIME! We need YOU!

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CHALLENGE GRANT TIME! We need YOU!

The Mother's Day Walk for Peace is our most important fundraiser of the year. In 2018, our goal is to raise $400,000 so we can expand the services, training, and advocacy work we do.

To lead our fundraising efforts, donors Rick and Gitte Shea have challenged us with a matching grant! This supporter will match donations up to $5,000 for all gifts made by March 15!

Here are ways you can give:

1. Start a team and encourage your network to give to your team page!

2. Give to a walk team of a friend, family member, coworker, or survivor in our community!

(Please note: the match from the grant will not appear on team pages.)

3. Donate online now!

Important Dates to Remember

Weds. March 28:  Community Briefing
Hampshire House
84 Beacon St, Boston, MA  02108
8:30-10:00am

Sat. April 7, Sat. April 28: 
Info Sessions at the Peace Institute      
    
The Peace Institute
15 Christopher St. 
Dorchester, MA 02122
10:30am-1:00pm

Weds. April 18: Community Walk Kick Off
Bruce Bolling Municipal Building
Innovation Lab, 2nd floor  
2304 Washington St, Roxbury, MA 02119
5:30-8:00pm

Weds. April 25: Survivor Walk Event  
The Peace Institute
15 Christopher St. 
Dorchester, MA 02122
4:30-6:00pm and 6:00-8:30pm 

Fri. May 4: Volunteer Orientation & Party  
The Peace Institute
15 Christopher St. 
Dorchester, MA 02122
6:00pm

Sun. May 13: Mother’s Day Walk for Peace
Town Field Park, Field’s Corner
1520 Dorchester Ave.
Dorchester, MA 02122
6:00am Registration
8:00am Walk Begins