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Continuing A Season of Peace: The Unity March for Mattapan (conclusion)

by Talia Whyte

Isaura Mendes has become a staple at many anti-violence walks around the city for a very unfortunate reason. The Dorchester activist lost two sons, Bobby and Alex, to street violence. In 2008, she said she forgave Bobby’s convicted killer and told him she prayed that nothing bad would happen to him.

“Let me show you about forgiveness,’’ Mendes said at the Walk for Peace last July. “The murder of Bobby Mendes ended in forgiveness; do you possess the strength to forgive?’’

Mendes is the founder of the The Bobby Mendes Peace Legacy, an anti-violence program started in 1999 to help decrease homicides in Dorchester and Roxbury. Through the program, Mendes brings her message of peace and forgiveness to schools and prisons and provides counseling to other families who have lost loved ones to street violence. Mendes has also won many awards for her work, including the Testament of Hope Award from Martin Luther King III last January.

“It is my obligation in life to help others in the community to end the cycle of violence,” Mendes said to the unity walk crowd. “If we don’t end it, who will?”