Press Release: Mothers for Justice and Equality honors four with Courage and Conviction Award and two with Community Excellence Award for community service in Boston area

Contact: Andrea Cale,

City of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said honorees are examples of
“selflessly working to better their neighborhoods”

BOSTON — Mothers for Justice and Equality President Monalisa Smith has announced four recipients of the 2018 Courage and Conviction Award in recognition of community work that has come after standing firm in the presence of pain or tragedy to help others in their Boston and Greater Boston neighborhoods. In addition, Smith has announced two recipients of the Community Excellence Award in recognition of extraordinary agents of change. The honorees were saluted for their outstanding service on June 9 at a celebration aboard the Spirit of Boston with more than 200 guests.

“This year’s honorees share an exceptional commitment to providing City of Boston and Greater Boston youth with the vision and path toward a bright future,” said Smith. “From mediating street violence to supporting families and from mentoring youth to offering healing, our honorees powerfully display courage, conviction and excellence everyday in our communities.

“This year's award winners represent the impact one individual can have in creating a profound and positive change within their communities,” said City of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. “The Courage and Conviction Award and Community Excellence recipients have gone above and beyond, selflessly working to better their neighborhoods. I applaud them for their efforts, and thank Mothers for Justice and Equality for recognizing these individuals for their important contributions to our city.”

The 2018 Courage and Conviction Award recipients are:

Jennifer Colon, a mother who lost a son to brain cancer and dedicates her life to helping others, with a special passion for assisting elderly people;

Charmise Galloway, a mother who lost a son to gun violence and is featured in the documentary film “Circle Up” with women who are dedicating their lives to helping young people choose positive paths.

Jannie Gibbs, a mother who works with organizations including Peace Institute and Project Free following the loss of a son to gun violence; and

Ebony LePenn, a mother who is committed to healing through mindfulness workshops and sound healing through The Anthony P. Clay Healing Project following the loss of her husband to gun violence.

The 2018 Community Excellence Award recipients are:

Anthony Meeks, a City of Boston Street Worker who helps deescalate and mediate potentially violent conflicts between neighborhood gangs and high-risk individuals with Boston Centers for Youth and Families; and

Alvin Morris, a Therapy Mentor and Outreach Coordinator at Mattapan Community Health Center who said he is committed to being a positive male role model in his community.

About Mothers for Justice and Equality
Mothers for Justice and Equality was founded in Boston in 2010 by Smith and other mothers who had lost family members to community violence. Today, more than 500 members come to MJE’s “kitchen table,” an office space in Roxbury, Massachusetts, where neighborhood mothers receive tools to become community leaders. In the last several years, the organization has provided a variety of innovative initiatives to work toward ending community violence, including:

Events and discussions that have featured political leaders ranging from former Governor Deval Patrick to most recently, a 3rd annual mothers against violence national conference that featured City of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh;
“You Matter: Personal Leadership Training,” a youth peer leadership program and a workforce readiness initiative;
Financial literacy curriculum to inmates at the Suffolk County House of Corrections to address the needs of young adult inmates coming back into the community;
Training to new Boston Police Cadets and Boston EMTs to prepare them when facing individuals dealing with trauma;
Voter engagement drives;
Parent/Police Partnership advisory group;
Being recognized as a Department of Transitional Assistance work service site;
Becoming an approved provider of services for the Boston Public Schools;
Receiving a $30,000 grant from The Boston Foundation’s StreetSafe Program, allowing the organization to make changes including the passage of an ordinance to restrict selling knives to minors; and
Running dozens of billboards across Boston in an awareness campaign that depicted young victims of homicide with the group’s motto: “It’s not OK.”

Note: These interviews and press releases were created in partnership with Mothers for Justice and Equality in the spirit of The Good News Experiment, an initiative that highlights individuals’ extraordinary community work.