BOSTON (WHDH) - Hundreds of moms took to the streets Sunday for Boston’s 26th annual Mother’s Day Walk for Peace.
The nearly 8-mile walk through Dorchester, Roxbury and downtown Boston was held to remember those lost to violence and raise money for the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute, which works with survivors’ families. This year’s walk has raised $400,000 toward a $600,000 goal.
Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley said her mother walked every year before she died.
“I lost my mother to cancer 11 years ago and this was a walk that we did together every year,” Pressley said. “She was too sick to do [the full walk] … so 11-plus years ago right in Ashmont she walked six steps because that was important to her. Her final act of activism was to be a part of this Mother’s Day peace walk.”
The Walk for Peace was founded by Chaplain Tina Chery after her 15-year-old son was killed by a stray bullet in 1993. She started the institute with a mission to help other families reeling after losing loved ones to violence.
Families like Tia Sommerville who who lost her son Javare just last summer.
“The violence has to stop, my son lived 17 years, he should have lived a lot more,” she said.
Police say Javare was standing on a sidewalk watching the Caribbean festival when he was stabbed in the neck and killed by a man he did not know. His mother said her community and the Peace Institute have been with her every step since.
“This organization has provided trauma healing support so we’re here to support them and make sure people don’t forget his face,” she said.
The Peace Institute says they provide support in those difficult first 24-72 hours after a person is killed.
“Nobody knows really what to do after you lose a loved one and we’re here to say you don’t have to do that alone,” said We Walk for Randy’s Lawrence Stevenson. “We’re to walk with you on your healing journey.”
The support doesn’t end there – Mayor Michelle Wu referred to the institute as a vital city resource.
“There is nothing more powerful than a mother’s love, and the group that has founded this, Chaplain Chery has really taken that and wrapped it around every single part of our community,” the mayor said.
An emotional day for many involved, including some mothers on a mission. They say their work is far from over.
“Gun violence is still happening, we’re still disproportionately impacted and by coming out we show that we know you know the data shows it and we’re here and were not going anywhere and we’re committed to this city,” Chery said.
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