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617-523-0402 | PO Box 8382, Boston, Massachusetts 02114
A MEMORIAL TO VICTIMS OF HOMICIDE

Annual Honor Program 2017

2017 Honor Program

On September 14, 2017, again, hundreds gathered at the Garden to honor the memory of the 38 new loved ones added to the Garden and the many others who we have lost to homicide.   During this year’s program, we were fortunate to have House Speaker Robert DeLeo MC our event.   We also heard from Liam Lowney, Executive Director of Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance and survivor speaker Deborah JacQuie Cairo-Williams, mother of Charisse Monique Carter.  The resounding theme that was eloquently spoken by each was the search for solace, the human capacity to heal and to learn how to live a new normal and the strength needed to shape your loved ones’ legacies.

This year, we also had exciting news to share about the future and long-term sustainability of the Garden.  As you know, the Garden was built and is maintained by the work of a dedicated group of volunteers with the indispensable help of our faithful donors.  The Garden board and founders have, over the past year, had serious discussions about our ability to sustain this work over the long-term, as we are an all-volunteer organization with no staff.  In order to ensure that the Garden continues to grow and meet the needs of our family of survivors, we concluded that we needed to find a home for it that provides that long-term sustainability.  We initiated discussions with the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance (MOVA) and found that their mission and that of the Garden are a perfect match.  MOVA is an independent state agency governed by a board chaired by the Massachusetts Attorney General and whose members include two District Attorneys and two public (victim) members.

As a result of these discussions, a bill (H2306) was filed in the legislature that would:

  • Transfer administration of the Garden of Peace to MOVA
  • Create an advisory committee to ensure that the mission of the Garden is carried out
  • Create a trust fund seeded with the existing reserves of the Garden and restricted to the maintenance and growth of the Garden.

These three elements of the legislation give us the comfort of knowing that the Garden will live on past our lifetimes; that survivors will continue to have a voice in the administration of the Garden; and that those of you have made this all possible with your financial support can continue to make contributions in the name of your loved ones.

As these discussions continue and the bill continues to make its way through the legislative process, we ask you to please

contact your state legislators to ask them to communicate their support for H2306 to the Chairs of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary – Senator William Brownsberger and Representative Claire Cronin.   The bill has been heard by the Committee and awaits a favorable report to move on through the process.    To locate your legislators:    https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator.

 

As always, we were warmed by all of those that attended the event and we continue to be inspired by all of you each day.  Thank you for your continued support of the Garden and your dedication to its long-term sustainability.

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