Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mothers of Victims Walk for an End to Violence

An article in yesterday's Boston Globe covered the annual Mother's Day Walk for Peace that MVFHR member Clementina Chery helped to start 14 years ago. Here's an excerpt:

Natasha Steele was making her third Mother’s Day Walk for Peace yesterday in honor of her son, Cedirick, who was killed by gunfire in 2007, but it turned out she had a new family member to mourn: On Saturday afternoon, her second cousin Jaewon Martin, 14, was fatally shot near a basketball court on the Jamaica Plain/Roxbury line.

Steele wiped tears away with one hand as she struggled to hold onto a poster papered with photos of Cedirick and Jaewon while the wind pushed hard against it.

“Jaewon’s mother was supposed to come to support Natasha,’’ said Lakeisha Martin, cousin to both women. “But then, [his death] happened.’’

Hundreds of family and friends of young people killed by street violence gathered in Town Field Park in Dorchester early yesterday morning to kick off the 14th annual Mother’s Day Walk for Peace. By 7 a.m., registration tables were staffed, a stage with loudspeakers was set up, and a commemorative quilt was hung, studded with pins depicting faces of murder victims.

“Every year [the walk] grows,’’ said Clementina Chery, cofounder of the Louis D. Brown Institute Peace Institute, which began the walk.

And fatal shootings over the past week only underscore why the peace walk remains relevant, she said.

“I mean, [Saturday] night, two people were shot,’’ she said before the walk, referring to the death of Martin and the wounding of another, unidentified juvenile.

Chery is familiar with the pain of losing a child to violence. In 1993, her son, Louis D. Brown, 15, died after being caught in crossfire on his way to an antiviolence Christmas party.

“Louis believed that peace would be achieved by his generation, no matter what side of the street they come from,’’ Chery said.

Through the Peace Institute, Chery provides support for countless others who have lost loved ones to violence....

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