More than four years after the unsolved murder of 19-year-old Jorge Fuentes, a group of Episcopalians in Boston, Massachusetts, will again spend Mother’s Day walking for peace in his name.
Using a “youth led, adult supported” model, young participants help identify community needs, such as park renovations and access to safe activities, and teens help work toward those goals.
Fuentes, an active member of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, was shot dead in September 2012 by an unknown gunman while walking his dog near his family’s home in Dorchester, a neighborhood in Boston. Fuentes was a respected Episcopal teen leader. Since 2013, the Diocese of Massachusetts has honored Fuentes by participating in the annual Mother’s Day Walk for Peace sponsored by the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute.
The diocese typically mobilizes hundreds of its parishioners to participate, some carrying the banner of B-PEACE for Jorge. The campaign was launched after Fuentes’ killing to focus the diocese’s work on addressing the root causes of violence, with attention to youth development and anti-violence advocacy. The campaign combines youth mentoring, jobs for teens, support for families and activism on gun reform legislation while partnering with established organizations.
“We can help other organizations and other projects that are already underway have more success,” the Rev. Liz Steinhauser told Episcopal News Service. She is director of youth programs at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and one of the coordinators of B-PEACE for Jorge.