It’s been 25 years since Louis Brown was shot dead on the streets of Dorchester, just 15 years old, and in a tragic twist of fate, on his way to a meeting about ending gang violence.
Since that day in 1993, Brown’s mother, Tina Chéry, has dedicated her life to working with survivors of gun violence.
“Even those whose loved ones are pulling the trigger," she told WBUR. "The young man who was convicted of killing my son, he’s out on parole. But before he was out on parole, I had to make sure that he, his family, also had a space where he could begin to heal.”
There’s no way to know for sure, but Chéry says she believes the work of her group has saved lives. That’s because in the aftermath of a shooting, they try to immediately intervene and break the cycle of retaliation.
"Oh definitely, many of the young men will tell us ... if it wasn't for you, more murders would happen," she said.
Mayor Marty Walsh says Boston has come a long way since its most violent days in the 1990s. But he says that’s of little comfort to the families of victims.
“I think we are safer as a city, but if you asked a parent that lost a child, they're not going to tell you it's safer," Walsh said. "I think what’s happened in 25 years is that Tina and others are here to support families, where they weren’t necessarily there 25 years ago. I think that’s change."
Now, Chéry says, the group is in the early stages of trying to bring to a national level its mission of providing trauma services to survivors of gun violence. They're working with members of the state's Congressional delegation to solidify a national Gun Violence Awareness month.
This segment aired on May 2, 2019.