Thank you to all who contributed to this year’s successful Mother’s Day Walk for Peace supporting the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute’s important work with people impacted by trauma and loss. Although our actual walking team was small this year, we made an impact with our contribution to the Peace Institute – $4,390 so far. The Institute relies on the Walk to provide essential funds for its programming. It’s not too late to contribute! Chaplain Tina Chéry is keeping the fundraising open until Father’s Day – June 19. Here is link to our team page: https://www.mothersdaywalk4peace.org/FPN
In addition to raising money, the walk has a larger purpose. It creates community and has become an annual tradition in the City of Boston. The roster of speakers at the opening rally attest to this: Mayor Michelle Wu, U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Attorney General Maura Healey, all of whom were impassioned in their support and inspiring to the 5,000 walkers and the 1,200 virtual participants.
One of the benefits of doing the walk is to join in that community. We have been enriched by the connections we have made with other participants. We walked part way with Needham’s Temple Beth Shalom team and saw teams from other UU churches, such as Concord and Franklin. The Watertown UU congregation was part of a busload from the Watertown community.
Most of the teams, however, are formed by family and friends of the victims themselves. They hold signs with pictures of their deceased loved ones, most of whom were murdered by senseless gun violence on the streets of Boston. One woman was very touched when we asked about her daughter, whose picture featured prominently on the sign she was carrying. She wanted everyone to know what a wonderful girl she was. The words on her sign read, “A Million Smiles.”
We also walked part of the way with a brother and sister who work for the North American Indian Center of Boston. They are part of the Mi’kmaq nation, which originated in eastern Canada. They walked in honor of a young Native woman who was killed as she was about to testify about a murder she witnessed. To get through the 7.7-mile route, they took turns pushing each other in a wheelchair, with several rest stops along the way.
We wrapped up the Walk alongside Rev. Wayne Daley, who greeted us warmly, having visited First Parish with Tina and demonstrated the Peace Play activity. The Institute recently gave First Parish our own Peace Play kit, so we may see him this fall for training.