Thousands marched up Dorchester Avenue on Mother’s Day, calling for peace in the streets and showing support to the families who have lost loved ones to homicide.
The 19th annual Mother’s Day Walk for Peace to benefit the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute in Dorchester was founded after Tina Cherry’s son was killed in 1993 on his way to a Teens Against Gang Violence meeting. Since then, the rally has grown into a full-scale march for those afflicted by street violence all over the Commonwealth to speak out against senseless violence and to embrace families who share their pain. The event raised over $330,000 dollars for the center.
“I remember being in Tina’s kitchen and talking about the march,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. “Looking out on the crowd today, seeing that it has multiplied by the thousands, I want to thank Tina for continuing her vision and not giving up. The walk for peace should not just be on Mother’s Day, but on every other day. Tina Cherry took what was a tragedy in her family and turned it into something beautiful.”
At a point in the walk’s history, participants would gather in Town Field Park in Fields Corner, but the massive outpouring of support forced the walkers to gather across the street in a large parking lot to accommodate the sheer number of groups and individuals taking a unified stand against violence in their respective communities.
Walkers carried banners for fallen friends and relatives, while others wore shirts reading “Real Men Walk For Peace,” and carried signs reading, “No More Hurting People,” a quote made famous by Dorchester’s Martin Richards, the youngest casualty of the 2013 Marathon Bombings.
Carlos Arrendondo, known as the man in the cowboy hat who rushed a severely injured Jeff Bauman to safety, marched at the front of the procession along-side Walsh and other organizers.
“It is wonderful to be a part of an effort to bring peace to the community,” Arrendondo said. “It is important to remember the ones we have lost to violence and to see people from all over participating and celebrating the need for peace.”
The crowd spanned so long that it took roughly a half hour before the last line of walkers left the meeting spot in the shopping center parking lot on Park Street and Dorchester Avenue.
“It’s awesome to be in a crowd this large this morning to see all these people support the same message,” Adrian Johnson said as she carried a banner in memory of Antoine Maquis Dingle-Knight, a 27-year-old Dorchester man who was shot near his home in 2014. “This is how we get our voices heard. Enough is enough already. The violence is too much and it’s senseless.”