On May 14th, 2017, the Activist Lab and members of BUSPH, including students, alumni, and staff, came together to participate in the Mother’s Day Walk for Peace. The event first 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 celebrate our potential to create more peaceful communities. Every year families from across the state and region walk together toward peace because, in unity, there is healing.
Despite the heavy wind and rain, hundreds of participants gathered at Field’s Corner in Dorchester to honor those who have been murdered and embrace our new and old partners in peacemaking. Addressing the audience, Debra Morris-Covington’s voice broke as she talked about the devastation she feels over losing her 3-year-old grandson, Kenai Whyte — who was killed in early 2016. She relies on the support of the Peace Institute, which sends a therapist to her house, she said.“Mother’s Day was never really a good day for me,” said Morris-Covington. “But today, it means something.”
Reverend Liz Walker gave the opening prayer followed by statements of unity and acknowledgment of the need for change coming from Governor Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans, state legislators, and city councilors. The Walk wound through the communities of Dorchester, Roxbury, the South End, and finished at City Hall where the Peace Flag was raised at which point City Hall and The Lenny Zakim Bridge were lit in shades of purple for peace.
After the event, the Peace Institute sent an update to walkers announcing that $306,172 has been raised toward their goal of $400,000 to sustain critical programs and services.Fundraising will continue through Father’s Day.
The Walk is organized by the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute, a center of healing, teaching, and learning for families and communities impacted by murder, grief, trauma, and loss.
Activism Opportunity: Stand up for Survivors!
When a person is murdered, the loved ones they leave behind are also victims. One of the first things families have to do is figure out how to pay for their loved one’s funeral and burial costs. A proper funeral and burial is an essential step in the healing process.
Many families are eventually denied by Victim Compensation because of a clause in the state statute that requires a family’s claim to be reduced or denied in the event their loved one “contributed to” their own death.
The Peace Institute believes it is a human right to lay our loved one to rest with respect and dignity. Legislation has been crafted to amend the victim compensation so that no families of murder victims can be denied reimbursement for modest funeral and burial costs because of the circumstances surrounding their loved one’s death.
H.742 was filed by Representative Evandro Carvalho. You can call and email your state legislators and ask them to support H.742:
“Hello, my name is ______ and I am a constituent. I am calling to ask you to support H.742 ‘An Act Amending Victim Compensation’ so that families of murder victims cannot be denied reimbursement for modest funeral and burial costs in their time of greatest need. All families deserve to lay their loved one to rest with respect so that they can begin the healing process. Please actively support H.741. Thank you.”
Find your legislators’ contact information.