For Immediate Release
Contact: Mallory Hanora 617-825-1917
The Peace Institute to recognize survivors of homicide victims who “Inform, Influence, and Impact Policy” at the Opening Ceremony of Survivors of Homicide Victims Awareness Month
Monday November 21, 2016. BOSTON, MA:
The Louis D. Brown Peace Institute convenes the Opening Ceremony of the 16th Annual Survivors of Homicide Victims Awareness Month (SHVAM) at the Massachusetts State House today. SHVAM is a month-long effort to educate the public and policymakers about the impact of murder on families and communities and recognize the diverse contributions of the survivors’ movement.
Senator Linda Dorcena Forry will open the program and welcome fellow elected officials, survivors, clergy, and providers. “I applaud the work of the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute for empowering families impacted by violence and I’m proud to have hosted this event since 2014,” said Senator Forry. “The incredible advocacy work from survivors of homicide informs the policy decisions we make in the legislature but also brings awareness to a critical issue concerning public health. It is essential that we provide the resources necessary for survivors, those personally affected or who may have witnessed these acts of violence in our neighborhoods,” concluded Senator Forry. Senator Forry will also read a proclamation in honor of SHVAM issued by Governor Charlie Baker.
Attorney General Maura Healey and Liam Lowney, Executive Director of Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance and a survivor himself, will be keynote speakers.
Staff of the Peace Institute will present survivors of homicide victims from across the state with awards for their exemplary advocacy. Gregory Gibson will receive the Inform Award for persistently educating the public and policymakers about the impact of homicide on families and complex issues facing the survivor community. Mr. Gibson’s son Galen was killed in a school shooting at Simon's Rock College in 1992. This prompted Greg to write Gone Boy, a critically acclaimed investigation into his son's murder and gun violence in America.
Carla Sheffield will receive the Influence Award for courageously changing the conversation about murder victims to include people who are killed by police. Ms. Sheffield’s son Burrell Ramsey-White was killed by a police officer in 2012. Since then, Ms. Sheffield has founded Better Opportunities, Inc. to advocate for mandated licensing of police officers.
Mary Franklin is to receive the Impact Award in honor of her tireless leadership on the issue of unsolved homicide through her organization the Women’s Survivors of Homicide Victims Movement. Ms. Franklin’s husband Melvin was killed in 1996 and his murder remains unsolved. Heather and Jerry Mullin will also receive the Impact Award for establishing Joanna's Place, a center that provides free counseling and support groups for grieving children and families. Mr. and Mrs. Mullin’s six year old daughter Joanna was murdered in 2007.
“Today marks the re-birth of a movement,” Peace Institute Program Coordinator and survivor Alexandra Chéry remarked. “Survivors are leading the way on policy initiatives that impact all of our families. Though we are grieving, we are committed to healing ourselves and working with our allies to create communities where all families are treated with love, dignity and compassion.”
The Opening Ceremony is the first in a series of events all month long. For the full schedule, please visit www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org