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Why is there a Mother’s Day Walk for Peace?
Created in 1996 by parents grieving the death of their son, the Mother’s Day Walk for Peace began as an opportunity for families, whose children had been killed, to gather and support one another.
Today, this annual walk draws people from all over Greater Boston, and from communities across the state. Each year, thousands of people participate, including the business community, elected officials, professionals from the law enforcement and criminal justice system, health care professionals and bereavement specialists, and faith communities from Massachusetts and neighboring states. Family members and friends of people killed walk with family and friends of those incarcerated for these acts. People walk for different reasons - some to remember a loved one, some trying to forgive. People who come from communities not impacted by violence walk to show their support for all families and to send the strong message that violence in any neighborhood is unacceptable.
Who does the Walk benefit?
The Walk benefits the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute. In 1994 Tina Chery, co-founded the Peace Institute after her 14 year old son Louis was killed, caught in gun crossfire on his way to a “teens against violence” meeting. The Peace Institute has been a healing center and a training and education resource for Boston and beyond for almost 20 years. Often the first place to which families in crisis are directed, the Peace Institute works with families through grief, loss and trauma. In addition, the Peace Institute works with police, hospitals, the courts, and government systems to improve services for families in crisis and with children in the Boston Public Schools.
This year $200,000 of the proceeds will be allocated towards the Peace Institute Community Investment Fund. Proceeds from the 2016 Mother’s Day Walk for Peace will support community initiatives led by survivors of homicide victims.
$100,000 will fund the LIVE IN PEACE FUND: This one of a kind fund will provide micro grants to programs and groups that are led by and serve survivors of homicide victims or families of the offenders. Micro grants will range from $250.00 to $5,000.00.
$100,000 will fund the REST IN PEACE FUND: Violent crimes exact a tremendous physical and emotional toll on individuals, families and entire communities. Surviving family members of a homicide victim face the additional trauma and stress of having to bury their loved one, often with insufficient financial resources. Funds for burials, especially cemetery costs, are the biggest and most immediate hurdles a family must address. These costs include: the purchase of a cemetery plot, opening and closing of the grave, certified copies of death certificates, and a headstone. Cemeteries do not offer financing, therefore families must come up with the payment upfront before a burial can happen. The Peace Institute often is asked to fundraise in a very short time frame so the lovedone can be laid to rest. This fund is intended to alleviate the burden of grieving families by offsetting these costs to those in need. The Peace Institute has established the REST IN PEACE Survivors’ Assistance Fund and is leading a collaborative effort to ensure that financial resources are available to families of homicide victims when they need them most.