Every summer, early July since 2000 hundreds of survivors and concerned members of the community have taken to the streets of Upham’s Corner Dorchester, MA to send a loud and clear message, PUT DOWN THE GUNS! WE NEED PEACE NOW!
Reaching the kids in the community with support and encouragement for staying in school and working on self improvement is a priority. Each Fall the Peace Legacy throws a Back to School bash for the neighborhood giving away school supplies and generally having a good time.
Throughout the year Bobby Mendes Peace Legacy founder Isaura Menedes takes neighborhood kids who bring home report cards out for a special meal to celebrate the work they have been putting in and the progress they have shown.
Mathew Mendes is pictured manning the grill.
Since 1999 an annual holiday celebration for the neighborhood complete with Santa visits, a pinata, presents for the kids and dancing for everyone. The Peace Legacy believes that celebration is as important as mourning. Christmas with Bobby is sponsored by The Maxwell Community Business Park and supported with the assitance of Christian Scientist Church.
The issues facing the community are many and varied. The causes of violence are complex and interrelated. The Peace Legacy hosts ongoing dinner/dialogues reaching out to the Greater Boston community, the police force and politicians in an effort to expand empathy and understanding and to facilitate the development of effective solutions.
Homicide inflicts its wounds well beyond the vicitm, family and friends are devastated and the grief is immense. Isaura Mendes, who has lost two sons to murder works with the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute and others to provide support and hope to others.
April 2006 – Isaura Mendes and her youngest son Mathew particpate in an international exchange with Friction Arts in Birmingham England. Over the course of two weeks they spoke to at risk youth and survivors of violence in that community and opened many doors. Mathew found for the first time the safety to speak out about the violence which he lived with daily and which had claimed his brother a decade earlier. He also developed an avid appetite for books, particularly those about his heritage and about healing. He returned from the UK with over 30 pounds of reading material.
May 2006 – Mathew Mendes is murdered in a shooting in his Upham’s Corner neighborhood.
“Find Your Voice” is a series of programs inspired by Mathew’s interests and passions which is currently being developed.
The Louis D. Brown Peace Institute and its founder/director Tina Chery have been an invaluable support to Isaura Mendes and The Bobby Mendes Peace Legacy. Our work often overlaps and we encourage you to support their efforts as well.