Mission: The Louis D. Brown Peace Institute is a center of healing, teaching, and learning for families and communities impacted by murder, trauma, grief, and loss.
Vision: We work to create and sustain an environment where all families can live in peace and all people are valued.
Belief: All families impacted by murder deserve to be treated with dignity and compassion, regardless of the circumstances.
Our Model: Our programs and services are grounded in the Center for Disease Control’s social-ecological framework that interventions are needed at multiple levels in order to interrupt cycles of violence. The heart of our work is with families impacted by murder on both sides. Our impact extends to community and society through tools, training, and technical assistance.
Principles: Love, Unity, Faith, Hope, Courage, Justice, and Forgiveness.
Our History: Louis was an avid reader a total book worm. He was caring and compassionate. He loved Chinese food and hated doing the dishes. At fifteen, he was committed to making his community a more peaceful and just place through the Teens Against Gang Violence group he was part of.
Louis believed that all young people had the potential to be peacemakers - regardless of what side of the streets they come from. He had the long-term goal of becoming the first Black president of the United States. Louis was killed in the cross-fire of a shootout in 1993.
Louis’ parents, Joseph and Clementina (Tina) Chéry founded the Peace Institute in 1994 to carry out the peacemaking work that Louis started. Their goal was to teach young people the value of peace, focus on the assets in community, and transform society’s response to homicide.
The first project of the Peace Institute was to develop peace education curriculum to help students learn how to deal with murder, grief, trauma, and loss. This curriculum was nationally recognized as an innovative effective primary prevention strategy.
Prior to Louis’ murder, there were no homicide response protocols in the city of Boston. In 1996 the City of Boston, the Boston Police Department, and other agencies began referring survivors of homicide victims to Tina to walk them through the crisis and chaos after homicide. Tina witnessed the way families were denied access to needed support and services if their loved one was “known to police” or had a “criminal history” and worked to be sure that all survivors were treated with dignity and compassion, regardless of the circumstances. With support from the Boston Public Health Commission, Tina founded the our core program, Survivors Outreach Services (SOS), to deliver consistent, coordinated services to survivors.
In 2009, the Peace Institute began convening the Serving Survivors of Homicide Victims Network to improve service delivery and coordination to families impacted by murder. In 2013, the Peace Institute published The Survivor's Burial and Resource Guide that codifies the best practices we have developed over twenty years of serving survivors of homicide victims. The Survivor's Burial and Resource Guide has been purchased by four level-one trauma centers in Boston and other service providers across the city. In 2016, the Peace Institute launched the Statewide Survivors of Homicide Victims Network for family members of murder victims using their experience and expertise to shape public health and safety policy.
In each family, there are 8-10 relatives who are profoundly affected by the murder. All those relatives have friends, co-workers, and classmates who share in their grief. The way society responds to homicide is often so inadequate it's referred to as "secondary victimization." Families on both sides of homicide undergo emotional, physical, and financial stress. This leads to instability that has a negative impact on entire communities. Addressing the impact of homicide requires a significant investment, yet not addressing it is even more expensive.
With more than twenty years of experience serving families impacted by murder, the Peace Institute has developed the best practices in the field of homicide response. We have become the go-to community-based agency when a homicide happens. The Peace Institute remains committed to transforming society’s response to homicide so every family impacted with murder is treated with dignity and compassion regardless of the circumstances.