On Tuesday the 2nd of December more than 70 people gathered in a community room in one of Roxbury’s many housing developments to help each other heal. The event, named Taking Care of Each Other, was produced by the women of LIPSTICK and supported by Thaddeus Miles and Mass Housing. It was a powerful evening of remembrance, healing, support and love.

Courtney Grey of the Public Health Commission shared tools, including breathing and movement exercises, to help those of us who have lost loved ones. We also had a memorial table, line dancing (!), a resource table, home cooked meals, and a professional photographer to capture the evening and present people with photographs as keepsakes of the evening.  
Many in the room that night had lost loved ones. There were so many powerful moments, including when LIPSTICK Lady Page led  the calling of the names. Guests stood up and spoke about their loved ones and how their loss has impacted them and those around them.

Check out some of the photos from our roving LIPSTICK camera and professional photographer. 

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<div>Thaddeus Miles blogged about the event and took some amazing photos to capture the somberness in the room. Many of the women photographed had lost a son to gun violence in Boston. Chardonnay, a senior at City on the Hill, spoke movingly about the loss of her brother and how it has impacted her, her mother, and their entire family. She repeated, over and  over, how grateful she was that she found a space to speak openly about her grief in the presence of so many others who understood her pain. Her mother, who founded an agency to bring together other survivors called <b><i>Legacy Lives On, </i></b>also spoke about how coming together with other women helped her heal after the murder of her son. </div>
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<div>Another poignant moment came from a woman who lost her son a few years ago. She has been battling breast cancer. She said through Legacy, and now LIPSTICK, she has found hope, support and healing. All photos are credited to Thaddeus Miles.</div>
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Last week I had the pleasure of sponsoring a “Taking Care of Each Other” event for LIPSTICK (Ladies Involved in Putting a Stop to Inner City killings): Women who have lost love ones to violence. My hope was that they might pause for a moment to pamper themselves. I wanted them to remember as they continue to build their organization, what my mentor Marc always says, which is “letting go is not giving up. Letting go is surrendering any obsessive attachment to particular outcomes and situations. Surrender means showing up every day for your life with the intention to be your best self, and to do the best you know how, without expecting life to go a certain way. Have goals, have dreams, aspire, take purposeful action and build great relationships, but detach from what you think life must look like. The energy of someone aspiring to create something wonderful, teamed with this kind of surrender, is far more powerful and rewarding than someone determined to create outcomes with a desperate ‘must have’ mentality. Surrender brings inner peace and joy, lest we forget that our outer lives are a reflection of our inner state of being.”

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<div>The father of Steven Odom, murdered in Boston at age 13, spoke too. Most folks see LIPSTICK as an organization for girls and women, but our work is stretched far and wide to also support the men in our lives who grapple with the same pain. Mr. Miles captured the senior Pastor Odom as he thought and reflected on his son before standing up to say that sharing their stories about Steven has helped him and his family heal.</div>
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We are looking forward to more events to bring the community of survivors together. We will be posting additional photos and sharing more stories of LIPSTICK in action.