May 4, 2022
Rep. Pressley Re-Introduces Resolution to Honor Survivors of Homicide Victims
BOSTON – Today, ahead of Mother’s Day, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) re-introduced a resolution to honor survivors of homicide victims by establishing a National Survivors of Homicide Victims Awareness Month. Earlier today, the Boston City Council passed an ordinance led by Boston City Councilor At-Large Julia Mejia in support of Rep. Pressley’s resolution at the federal level and highlighting the City Council’s recognition of November 20- December 20th as Survivors of Homicide Victims Awareness Month.
Notably, for every one homicide victim, there is an average of 10 surviving family members who suffer their loss in the aftermath of homicide. Rep. Pressley and Councilor Mejia’s resolutions seek to promote awareness of the intergenerational, traumatic, and lasting impacts of gun violence on families and broader communities.
“Gun violence is a systemic public health crisis that has generational impacts on families and communities throughout the Commonwealth and across the country. Healing from grief, trauma, and loss is non-linear and deserves sustained support,” said Rep. Pressley. “It is long past time to honor the voices and lived experiences of survivors of the trauma of gun violence, which is why I am proud to re-introduce my House Resolution today to establish a National Survivors of Homicide Victims Awareness Month. This resolution reaffirms the humanity and dignity of survivors, and I am grateful to Councilor At-Large Mejia for her support on the Boston City Council and working to ensure that this month is honored at the local level.”
“I think that, too often when we lose a loved one to homicide, there’s that initial wave of support: People send you meals, reach out with words of encouragement, refer you to trauma services. But what happens after that? What happens during that first birthday or holiday season without them? Who is there for the families in that time of need? I think that’s why we need a time like the Survivors of Homicide Awareness Month, because there isn’t a moment in time when the grieving stops, when you finally ‘move on,’ especially when you have lost someone to homicide as I have,” said Councilor Mejia.
The resolution is supported by the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute, a healing and trauma support center based in Dorchester, Massachusetts, focused on caring for families and communities impacted by murder, trauma, grief, and loss.
“Beginning 22 years ago, we have been celebrating and uplifting the voices of Survivors of Homicide Victims during this month to bring awareness and recognize our communities and families within them. Bringing to light that when we serve families with an equitable and effective response to homicide we interrupt cycles of violence, and families feel heard and respected and can begin their healing journey. Regardless of the circumstances, survivors should be treated with love and compassion and not feel like they should be silent and ashamed. This loving response gives the survivor community the power they lost when someone they loved was murdered. Their community and leaders should stand in solidarity with them. As a survivor-led organization that has been in this work for over a quarter of a century and continues to grow by meeting the needs of the full community standing on both sides of the gun, we stand with Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley and support this resolution,” said Danielle Bennett, Network and Policy Manager, Louis D. Brown Peace Institute.
To view Rep. Pressley’s resolution, click here.
Congresswoman Pressley is a long-time champion for gun violence prevention and supporting those experiencing trauma. She currently serves as a member of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force and she helped pass H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, and H.R. 1112, the Enhanced Background Checks Act – two long-overdue, bipartisan gun violence prevention bills. While serving as a Councilwoman on the Boston City Council, she hosted listening sessions on violence and trauma, giving survivors the space to be heard by government officials and the community.
Throughout her career, Congresswoman Pressley has been a tireless advocate for trauma-conscious policymaking. In June 2021, Rep. Pressley reintroduced the STRONG Support for Children Act, her landmark legislation that takes a holistic and community-based approach to addressing the growing crisis of childhood trauma.
In October 2021, Rep. Pressley, along with Reps. Dina Titus (NV-01), David McKinley (WV-01) and Peter Meijer (MI-03), introduced the Post-Disaster Mental Health Response Act, bicameral legislation to expand mental health supports for survivors of natural disasters and terrorist attacks—like the Boston Marathon bombing—that do not receive a “Major Disaster” declaration by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
In March 2021, Rep. Pressley sent a letter to President Biden calling on him to address the nation’s growing trauma crisis and laying out a series of steps the administration should take to confront the far-reaching hurt plaguing our communities and our nation. In April, she published an op-ed where she reflected on the collective pain experienced by communities in her district over the past year.
In July 2019, Rep. Pressley worked with Chairman Cummings to convene the first-ever Congressional hearings on childhood trauma. Watch Congresswoman Pressley’s full question line and follow-up questions here and here.
As a Boston City Councilor, she convened the Council’s first-ever listening-only session to hear directly from those impacted by the trauma of community gun violence.