Launching the Massachusetts Survivors of Homicide Victims Network
On December 3, 2016, 150 survivors of homicide victims gathered at Lombardo’s to formally launch the Massachusetts Survivors of Homicide Victims Network. The Survivors Network was established so family members of murder victims can work in unity to inform, influence, and impact policy. The Survivors Network is rooted in the belief that through our lived experience and expertise, we can be and already are leaders in creating and sustaining more peaceful communities. As survivors, we know better than anybody about the impact of homicide on individuals, families, and communities and we know best what we need to heal.
The inaugural convening of the Survivors Network was held in December to honor Survivors of Homicide Victims Awareness Month (SHVAM). SHVAM is a month-long effort (November 20-December 20) to educate the public and policymakers about the impact of murder on families and communities and recognize the diverse contributions of the survivor’s movement. Many survivors present at the convening were part of the statewide organizing effort to pass state legislation that established SHVAM in 2000. SHVAM is one example of the ways survivors have mobilized to make a difference in Massachusetts.
Our first Survivors Network convening was a celebration of everything we’ve already accomplished together and the power we have to do even more. Some survivors who attended have been on their healing journey for many years, and some newer survivors came to make connections and receive authentic support.