This week marks the 20th anniversary of the murder of my son, Louis D. Brown. In the days counting down to December 20, the day he was shot and December 21--the day he was pronounce dead, I realize this tragedy broke me into a million pieces, tested my faith in God and shaped me personally, professionally and spiritually. In the beginning, my purpose was to make sure the legacy of my son continued, that the world would see that young black males in urban settings have dreams, visions, and goals and that he was not just another statistic.
Louis now lives on through the work of the Peace Institute that serves as a center of healing, teaching, and learning for thousands of families and communities impacted by murder, trauma, grief and loss. Where we believe that peace is possible, the fulfillment of our mission is based on the active use of the seven principles of peace: love, unity, faith, hope, courage, justice and forgiveness.
Louis' death shaped my professional path. Before Louis was killed, I was a stay-at-home mom and really did not believe that the violence around me had any impact on me and my family.
Today, 20 years later, as I work through my grief and the inner healing of the murder of my son, the blinders have come off and I would now see the world through God's eyes and not through the eyes of men.
One day I asked God what else He wanted from me. "My son is dead. My husband left me. What else could You possibly want for me?" And He replied in Micah 6:8. The Message was quite clear: But he's already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love. And don't take yourself too seriously- take God seriously. And so I did. I take God's message very seriously and now know my purpose on earth. I have been called to serve, and to bring God's message of peace to His people.
God is not through with me yet, I am a work in progress and I continue to transform my pain and anger into power and action. This only happens because of my faith in the God that said, "I will never leave you or forsake you." The God that tells me every day, "Do not lean on your own understanding." This continues to be a daily struggle and it is a conscious decision that I make.
I would like to take this time, as we celebrate the season of Peace and goodwill to all mankind, to thank you for your support and for your investment in helping to shape me personally, professionally, and spiritually in bringing the message of Peace to the forefront. I share this gift of with you as it has been central in my journey towards peace: John 14:27 (NIV): "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." I plan, I pray, and I practice these seven principles daily.
As I continue on my spiritual journey on how to bring God's Peace forth, it is important to hear and to continue to learn from you. How have I served you and the community? And how else can I fulfill His purpose?
Please take the time to reflect and answer these two questions via email [tina [at] ldbpeaceinstitute.org] our Facebook inbox. Your reflections are an instrumental part in my journey.
In Peace and Service,
Clementina M. Chery
President and CEO
LDB Peace Institute
1452 Dorchester Avenue, 3rd Floor,
Dorchester, MA 02122