At the first Fields Corner Civic Association Meeting of the year on Tuesday evening, Boston Police Officer Mike Keaney announced that 2017 saw a 6 percent decrease in part 1 crimes—the most serious offenses that include homicide, rape, and robbery —across the city, with District 11 leading the way at a 10 percent decrease.
Still, as Keaney noted, the past year saw gun violence inflict serious wounds on the community on a weekly basis, with younger and younger victims and perpetrators.
This reality was addressed at the civic meeting by Rachel Rodrigues and Alexandra Chery, representatives from the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute, a Fields Corner-based organization that offers services and resources to families whose loved ones have fallen victim to homicide.
The group was started by Chery’s mother Tina after her son, and Alexandra’s brother, an innocent bystander, was shot and killed on Geneva Avenue at the age of 15. The Institute strives to honor the memory of Louis, who had already begun to dedicate his life to anti-violence causes.
Workers at the organization equip families, students, and teachers with tools and materials to help them process the death of a child, sibling, or friend.
“We help families navigate the chaotic aftermath of a homicide death, walking them through the burial process and the criminal justice system, and helping them to heal at a deeply traumatic moment in their lives,” explained Rodrigues.
The Peace Institute offers services not only to victims, but also to families with incarcerated loved ones. By building a Survivor’s Network and addressing both sides of tragedies, organization workers aim to build understanding while preventing further future violence.
“Homicides become turning points in young people’s lives,” said Chery. “Often a natural response is one of anger and revenge rather than healing and rebuilding. If we can interrupt this cycle of revenge, that’s how intervention becomes prevention.”
The Institute will hold its 22nd annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace on Sunday, May 15. Registration is available now at mothersdaywalk4peace.org.