BOSTON (WWLP) – Tuesday was the 23rd annual kickoff of Survivors of Homicide Victims Awareness on Beacon Hill.

It’s a call that no one wants to get, that a loved one has been murdered. However, it’s an unfortunate reality. At the State House, survivors of homicide victims gathered in a show of strength and remembrance.

According to the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute, 148 cities and towns across the state have been impacted by homicide between 2010 and 2022, and in each one of those municipalities, loved ones are left behind. In Springfield alone, there has been a record amount of homicides just this year.

The kick off of the event Monday acknowledges the month long effort “to inform, influence and impact how society views and responds to murder victims and their families.”

“A lot of the time, the narrative is that this is an urban issue that happens, concentrated in Boston, metro-Boston, Worcester, Springfield, Lowell… places where there’s more people living. Although those communities are disproportionately impacted, this is an issue that definitely impacts the entire Commonwealth,” said Pace McConkie Jr., Policy and Advocacy Manager at Louis D. Brown Peace Institute.

Celeste Wright was among the loved ones in the crowd who carries around a tragic story but she has turned her pain into advocacy. Her son, Raequese Wright of Springfield was murdered in Holyoke back in 2020.

“It’s thanks to God that I’m here to stand here today, in honor of my son, and even a privilege to get up and speak and to show that your pain can become your power and a tragedy can become a triumph,” said Wright.

The group is also fighting for legislative priorities, like guaranteed bereavement leave.

At the event, Governor Maura Healey presented a proclamation which stated the Awareness Month will be acknowledged through December 20th.

Local News

Ellen Fleming is a reporter at the Boston State House who has been a part of the 22News team since 2022. Follow Ellen on X @EllenFlem and view her bio to see more of her work.