A grieving mother fights for peace in Boston

Clementina Chery at the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute, which she started after her son was killed. Credit: Nicolaus Czarnecki/METRO
Clementina Chery at the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute, which she started after her son was killed.
Credit: Nicolaus Czarnecki/METRO

Clementina Chery had a choice to make shortly after her 15-year-old son was innocently gunned down in crossfire between gangs battling in Dorchester.

“For me the anger and violence was there,” she said, adding, “I didn’t want to go that route. I wanted to go on the path less traveled.”

Chery chose the path of peace following the death of her son, Louis Brown, and founded the Dorchester-based Louis D. Brown Peace Institute.

Her son was killed in 1993 as he walked one afternoon into a teens against gang violence event. It was her son’s death, she said, that woke her up. 

“My anger was there, my search for revenge was there, but yet who was I going to take revenge out on? Someone who looked just like me? Someone who looked just like my son? So I had to channel my pain and my anger in a way that would be more about rebuilding the community,” she said.

The Peace Institute focuses on primary prevention, to stop the seeds of violence before they grow, and peace education as a way to stem violence. It has even developed curriculum for elementary to high school students on how to choose peace over violence in the wake of a crime. 

Primary prevention such as peace education and emotional literacy are areas that Chery believes will provide long-term tools for young people and help communities more than “Band-Aid solutions.”

“If we don’t address the emotional psychological needs of hurt children then they will become hurtful adults,” she said.

For 17 years, the Institute has put on the Mother’s Day Walk for Peace through Dorchester. The attendance has grown each year. This year Scarlett Lewis, whose son Jesse was one of the 26 students and educators killed during the shooting in Newtown, Conn., spokes to the crowd about loving each other and spreading peace.

Chery said the growing numbers at peace events like the Mother’s Day walk gives her hope.

“Doing good is hard. We live in a culture that is reactionary because everything is a quick fix. Seeing change is a long-term investment … you don’t see the results next day,” she said.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…