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Mayor Walsh launches Boston Peace and Democracy Discussions with Ray Flynn and Mel King

March 21, 2017

Mayor's Office

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Mayor's Office

The discussions to combat youth violence will begin through citywide collaborations.

Today, Mayor Martin J. Walsh will join former Mayor Ray Flynn and long-time community advocate Mel King to launch the Boston Peace and Democracy Discussions.

The Boston Peace and Democracy Discussions are designed to engage children in discussions with family members, teachers, librarians, police officers, street workers, nurses, doctors and clergy members about how to combat violence and create a more peaceful and democratic city and country. Peace and Democracy ebooks and digital games that encompass multicultural literature, activities and curriculum, will enhance the discussions.  

"This partnership further enhances our commitment to providing our young people with the tools they need to combat violence in their own communities," said Mayor Walsh. "I thank Ray Flynn and Mel King for supporting this effort, which will help to better serve our children and families by talking about these very important issues."

The first Peace and Democracy Discussion will be supported with It Doesn't Have to Be This Way: A Barrio Story (No tiene que ser así: una historia Del barrio) written by Luis J. Rodríguez, a book about a Latino boy who is being pressured to join a local gang and learns to overcome his troubles.

After reading and discussing this story about gangs and violence in one neighborhood in Los Angeles, California, students and participating adults will discuss their points of view about how violence in their city and community can be prevented.  

Based on feedback from this launch, a prototype will be provided for free to select schools and educational organizations in Boston who serve grades 4-5. By September 2017, the program's goal is to provide one ebook per grade level for all grade levels, encompassing pre-K to 12th grade, focusing on violence prevention. Future Boston Peace and Democracy Discussions will focus on discrimination and income inequality.

The first Peace and Democracy Discussion will be held at the Julia Butler Family Center, located at the Boston Housing Authority (BHA)'s Lenox/Camden development in Lower Roxbury. In addition, Center staff will participate in the discussions with area youth. The Center was recently renovated and provides after school programming for community youth and their families. The Center is currently operated through a new partnership between Vibrant Boston, the Black Ministerial Alliance and the BHA.

The Boston Peace and Democracy Advisory Board is in the process of reaching out to potential supporters and partners. Mel King is the honorary chairperson of the board and was just recently joined on the board by former Mayor of Boston, Ray Flynn.

About the Boston Housing Authority

The Boston Housing Authority (BHA) provides affordable housing to more than 58,000 residents in and around the City of Boston. Residents are assisted through a combination of public housing and federal and state voucher subsidy programs that provide a wide variety of housing opportunities. As the largest public housing authority in New England, the BHA houses close to 9 percent of the city's residents.

The BHA's mission is to provide stable, quality affordable housing for low and moderate income persons; to deliver these services with integrity and mutual accountability; and to create living environments which serve as catalysts for the transformation from dependency to economic self-sufficiency.