Peace Flowers Bloom in Chicago
By Zeki Salah, Facilitator, Mutual Aid Collaborative
On Sunday May 1st and Friday May 6th, a group of Chicago Peace Fellows supplied 300 Mother’s Day bouquets to mothers who have lost their children to violence in Chicago. Now in its third year, the Peace Flowers campaign was first launched in 2020, when over $5,000 were raised to deliver flowers to grieving mothers.
The Peace Flowers Campaign was first created by the Chicago Peace Fellows Mutual Aid Collaborative, a group of 60 Black and Brown leaders and committed allies who live and work in the communities they serve on the South and West sides. The project was developed by the Mutual Aid Collaborative with the twin goals of bringing comfort to mothers who had lost their children to gun violence and to raise funds for peace building projects in Chicago to prevent these tragedies in the future.
The flowers were obtained and distributed by the Greening Collective, a project formed under the Mutual Aid Collaborative. Peace Fellows from a range of communities across Chicago are involved in the Greening Collective. Their joint efforts supported the project, Peace Fellows involved include: Annamaria Leon of Homan Grown, L3C, Reshorna Fitzpatrick of the Historic Stone Temple, Pamela Montgomery-Bosley of Purpose Over Pain, and Bertha Purnell of Mothers on a Mission 28.
The Peace Flowers campaign was a collaborative effort that showcased the impact of having community-based organizations from across Chicago pool resources and ideas. Three organizations with ties to the Mutual Aid Collaborative partnered to deliver the flowers to mothers in their network: Purpose Over Pain, Mothers On a Mission 28, and Stone Temple Baptist Church. The collaborative nature of the project not only helped with finding funding and flowers, but also connected these resources to a community of mothers who had lost their children.
300 bouquets were distributed over the course of two days by the Peace Fellows. On May 1st, 150 bouquets were brought to Stone Temple Baptist Church and Mothers on a Mission 28 to be delivered to mothers across the South Side. Bouquets were also delivered to Purpose Over Pain on May 6th for their annual Mother’s Day Spa Day.
Pamela Bosley, Co-founder of Purpose Over Pain, connects mothers to build a community of support and has been involved in the Peace Flowers project for the last three years:
“Mother’s Day is a very difficult day for mothers who lost their children to violence, but a simple beautiful bouquet of flowers brings gentle smiles to moms, helping them push through this painful day.”
Bittersweet emotions characterized the Peace Flowers campaign as mothers faced grief alongside a supportive community. Despite ongoing concerns surrounding violence, the work of community-based organizations on projects like the Peace Flowers campaign makes Chicago a more peaceful and beautiful place to live. Through supporting these grassroots organizations with connections and funding, the Peace Fellows Mutual Aid Collaborative has had a sustainable social impact.