For Immediate Release
Contact: Mallory Hanora
November 20, 2017
“Celebrating life and our loved ones legacies” - The Peace Institute convenes survivors and policy makers to honor 17th Annual Survivors of Homicide Victims Awareness Month
BOSTON, MA: The Louis D. Brown Peace Institute convenes the Opening Ceremony of the 17th Annual Survivors of Homicide Victims Awareness Month (SHVAM) at the Massachusetts State House today. SHVAM is a month-long effort to educate the public and policymakers about the impact of murder on families and communities and recognize the diverse contributions of the survivors’ movement.
Senator Linda Dorcena Forry will host the program and read a proclamation in honor of SHVAM issued by Governor Charlie Baker. Liam Lowney, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance and a survivor himself, will also speak. They will be joined by the Chairperson of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, Representative Harold Naughton. “By working together to promote Homicide Victims Awareness Month, we can learn how to better assist the loved ones who have been impacted by violence and learn how to support survivors and their efforts to promote future violence prevention,” said Representative Naughton. “I am proud of the hard work we as a community have been able to accomplish towards violence prevention and the promotion of peace in the wake of tragedy.”
Representative Evandro Carvalho will also present on his recent work with the Peace Institute to promote legislation that would amend the Victim Compensation statute so that that the circumstances of a loved one's homicide cannot be used to determine a family's eligibility for funeral and burial reimbursement. Representative Carvalho’s amendment to improve Victim Compensation was adopted in the final House Criminal Justice Reform Omnibus bill last week. A similar amendment filed by Senator Forry was also adopted by the Senate.
“The Victim Compensation fund is a tremendous asset for our community, but unfortunately application rejections open up old wounds and force families to relive pain,” said Representative Carvalho. “This small change will allow for families to focus on what is important: celebrating their loved one’s life, memories, and legacy. I will be happy when families will no longer face this hurdle and I am honored to have played a small role in making it a reality.” The two criminal justice bills will now be considered by a Conference Committee. Survivors will continue to advocate for this important change to become law.
Staff of the Peace Institute will present survivors of homicide victims from across the state with awards for their exemplary service and advocacy. My Brother’s Keeper 617 and Clarissa Turner of Legacy Lives Lives On will receive Inform, Influence, Impact Awards.
My Brother’s Keeper 617 is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping youth in the Boston community. This organization has created bonds between youth and allows them to express their hidden talents through mentoring programs, activities, and sports. My Brother’s Keeper 617 has created a safe haven where youth can learn the importance of dedication, responsibility, and team work.
"Coming from the neighborhood, we know the struggle of the streets firsthand and are familiar with the pressure to go down the wrong path,” said co-founder Piter. “We are able to identify with, relate to, and connect with the upcoming generation. We felt there was a major problem with the violence so we got together, pulled our resources and tried to make a change.”
Legacy Lives On is a non-profit ministry organization that provides ongoing support to families that have been affected and have lost loved ones to homicide. The program helps families cope with the aftermath of a loss. Through Legacy Lives On, survivors are their own supporters. According to co-founder Clarissa, “At Legacy we remind each other: Do not give up on God; He will not give up on you. My story is my testimony! With God I am making it through what I have lost- the presence of a loved one. God will provide in the aftermath of our actions. We have many gifts in life; one is the gift to bring our loved ones forward, never to be forgotten.”
The Opening Ceremony is the first in a series of events all month long. For the full schedule, please visit http://ldbpeaceinstitute.org/content/survivors-homicide-victims-awareness-month