On July 28th over 125 family members, community members, service providers, and faith leaders shared in and bore witness to a powerful event, “Partnering for Peace.” There was a panel presentation by Chaplain Clementina Chéry, Lyn Levy., Doris Bogues, and Charles Bogues which shared an important story – a story of faith, love, unity, justice, forgiveness, hope, and courage. This story of how two families came together in tragedy and found peace is powerful, yet it is not unique. There are many families seeking greater healing in the community through collaboration.
VISIONS, Inc., the Peace Institute, Span, Inc. and UMass Boston have come together to create a pilot program based on the experiences of the Bogues and Chéry families – the Intergenerational Justice Program (IJP). IJP builds understanding and action beginning with acknowledging that poverty and racism poison our communities. The result is disparate numbers of economically disadvantaged people and people of color become involved in the justice system; both as incarcerated people and as victims, often from the same families, frequently living in the same neighborhoods. All involved suffer.
Victim's families suffer loss and endure the consequences. Those convicted of committing those crimes are incarcerated. They and their families also suffer the loss and consequences of homicide. Locked in conflict and loss, the community continues to loose.
IJP is designed to broaden the reach of a powerful model of work to address a gap in prisoner re-entry. Three community organizations have come together to build the infrastructure for safer communities for (a) the families and friends of victims of homicide; (b) individuals preparing for release after being incarcerated for committing homicide and related crimes; and (c) the families and friends of individuals who have been or are incarcerated for homicide and homicide related crimes.
The program includes in‐reach to inmates in Department of Correction facilities, groups and workshops in the community, case management, guidance, and supports for those impacted by homicide, and ongoing work that promotes healing and builds community. Additionally, ongoing research is being conducted by UMass Boston and the learning will become incorporated in the work.
If you or someone you know is interested in receiving guidance and support through IJP, please contact Britta Chidester at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Intergenerational Justice Program is funded by the US Department of Justice, in an Edward Byrne grant, through the MA Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, and the MA Department of Correction.