If you Google homicides in Boston by year, a set of grim statistics is available: the number of young men under 30 who are killed by gun or knife violence in Boston, especially in particular neighborhoods (Dorchester, Roxbury, South End). Mostly, young men die in Boston; mostly they are men of color. Mostly, the mainstream press never reports these homicides, and mostly, families who suffer these tragedies experience little attention or outrage beyond their neighborhoods, as Cassandra Desroches commented on a Facebook page in support of the Women’s Walk for Peace Boston and the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute. Desroches said, “What gets me is that the media still focuses on the bombing. Don’t get me wrong- this was a historical epic tragedy! However… they are forgetting the neighborhoods of Boston who deal with ‘hood’ terrorism daily. I’m still waiting for this story to break!”
Yesterday, women (and men) all over Boston rose up and went walking early to highlight the 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace. Amidst rain and overcast skies over 5000 of us gathered to transform pain and anger into power and action. Moms wore t-shirts with the names of loved ones they had lost…
Boston Mothers Care an amazing organizaton of women who meet weekly to support their women’s-focused mission in Haiti (bringing potable drinking water to a rural village in Haiti), came out with banners, backpacks full of information, and their kids; high school students memorialized lost loved ones–high school peers.
One mom, who had lost her “baby” in 2010, burst into tears as she told me about his unsolved murder as he sat in a car outside a convenience store. Shattered lives and broken hearts were lifted up by an incredible Boston showing of solidarity and support for those who have suffered homicide and other forms of violence. As we shouted, “What do we want? Peace! When do we want it? Now!” individuals from the neighborhood leaned out their windows and doors waving and shouting “Happy Mother’s Day.”
Part of a national movement of mothers to end violence against their children, we can all support the movement by making a donation to the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute which provides education and support to survivors of homicide, or walk the event next year. In the balkanized neighborhoods that unfortunately characterize Boston, efforts like this matter more than ever. It was the right way to begin the day as a citizen of Boston and a mother.