The Boston-Bay State Banner Online
January 4, 2007 — Vol. 42, No. 21
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An open letter to our children and our communities

To all of the young men of Boston:

2006 has come to a close, and many of us are looking to the New Year with hope and expectation. Over the past year, we — your mothers — have watched with deep pain as you have killed, shot and stabbed each other. We have buried too many of you, we have stood beside too many of you as you go to trial and we have gone to prison to visit too many of you after you have been sentenced. Your actions are hurting your families, your neighborhoods and those who love you. We love you, we pray for you, but we have been powerless to stop you. Only you can stop this genocide.

We know that the problems that have led to these street wars are complex. We know that you cannot solve the problems by yourself. We know that we cannot solve them either. But we need the space to begin to put real long-term solutions in place — long-term solutions that will build possibility and peace. We need the space to call for these solutions. Only you can give us this space.

We ask you to put down the guns.

As your mothers we ask you to stop the violence, stop the killing. We know you have the ability to do so. We gave birth to you. We raised you. We know you. We know you are strong and that you can be the foundation upon which we will build and sustain this peace that we are all seeking.

We need the space. We need it now. We do not want to bury another child; we do not want to sit in any more courtrooms. We do not want to face the shame that comes to us because of what you are doing.

Yes, the problems are bigger than this, bigger than the guns. Yes, we know it is not easy to stop the street wars. But only you can do it, and the first step towards attaining the world we need to live in is to put down the guns.

The second step is to join with us, the adults who really care about what happens to you, your younger siblings and your communities. Join with us to create an environment where families can live in peace and unity.

Starting Jan. 2, we will be fasting and praying for peace. We will be working to heal the wounded heart — our hearts, the hearts of your mothers and your own hearts. As strong women of faith in this community, we pray that you will forgive us for failing you and understand that you were brought forth on this Earth to live in peace and balance. This was God’s plan. Despite all of the problems, it is still possible.

We have hope, and we know it is in your power to lay the foundation. Put down the guns, create the space, stop the violence, stop the killing and build the peace with us.

Genevor Monell,
MA’MOMS (Massachusetts Moms Offering Moms Support)

Clementina Chéry,
Louis D. Brown Peace Institute

Jamie Bissonette,
American Friends Service Committee Criminal Justice Program

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