Thousands of Bostonians called for peace today in the wake of several recent shootings and stabbings and an unprecedented attack on the city last month.
Those killed in the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings were remembered alongside men, women, and children lost to street violence as marchers wearing purple—a color they said represents peace—advanced down Dorchester Avenue in the 17th annual Mother’s Day Walk for Peace.
Among the marchers were Carlos Arredondo, the Costa Rica-born peace activist who was photographed giving aid to injured spectators in the immediate aftermath of the Marathon bombings, and his wife, Mélida Arredondo.
The couple said they have participated every year since 2005, when Mélida Arredondo, who works in Uphams Corner, learned of the walk. Just months earlier, Arredondo’s older son from his first marriage, Alexander, a Marine, was killed by sniper while serving in Iraq.
“There are a lot of people losing their children to gun violence in Uphams Corner,” said Mélida Arredondo, 47. “So when we heard about this march, we said, ‘They’re going through the same pain we’re going through.’ ”
“It’s my responsibility as a father to honor both my sons and all the sons of the other parents, [and] to find a way to stop the violence,” said Carlos Arredondo, 52, who lost his younger son, Brian, to suicide after years of depression and drug addiction following his brother’s death.
A drizzle fell as walkers gathered to register, and the rain picked up during a short speaking program, but it tapered away as the crowd prepared to march.
Some sang hymns or folk songs such as “If I Had a Hammer.” Others chanted slogans including, “I don’t know but I’ve been told, love and peace are never old.” Many carried signs or banners or wore T-shirts with messages of peace and tributes to the dead.
Families gathered outside homes along Dorchester Avenue to watch and to cheer on the marchers.
“Thank you! Happy Mother’s Day,” one woman called down from a second-floor porch in a three-decker.
“May you have a peaceful Mother’s Day,” a man in the march called back.
Organizer Tina Chéry said the walk was a celebration of the people of Dorchester, of the entire city of Boston, and of neighboring communities that came together to show their support.
“There’s a sense of joy, because this is who our community is, and not just our communities but the communities around us,” she said. “When we have our neighbors come out, words just cannot express the meaning and the gratitude and the power and the strength.”