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Clementina Chéry Recognized as the NASW Public Citizen of the Year

Chéry is a Tireless Advocate for Curbing Youth Violence

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is pleased to name Clementina Chéry its Public Citizen of the Year. Ms. Chéry is an activist in the field of youth and gang violence prevention.

Clementina (Tina) Chéry is president and CEO of the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute in Dorchester, MA, and serves as its director of outreach services. In 1993, Ms. Chéry's son, Louis Brown, was shot and killed while on his way to a Christmas party given by a group called Teens Against Gang Violence—a violence prevention, intervention and peer leadership development program. In 1994 she and her husband Joseph founded the Institute, which is dedicated to carrying on their son’s legacy of preventing violence in their community.

The Institute seeks to achieve its mission in part through the Louis D. Brown Peace Curriculum for students K-12. This curriculum helps young people avoid violence by instilling values and creating activities that enrich the community. The program was commended in 1996 by U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno as contributing to Boston’s reduction in juvenile crime.

In addition to the curriculum, the Institute assists and trains survivors of violence, develops strategies and programs that teach and instill values of peace, and educates the public about the consequences of violence on the individual, family, and community. Events have included Mothers Walk for Peace, Teachers Peace Conference, Peace Zone Community Celebration, Ride for Peace, and Survivors of Homicide Victims Awareness Month.

“It takes courage to turn a personal tragedy into a public service for good,” says NASW President James J. Kelly, Ph.D., ACSW.  “Clementina Chéry is a tireless advocate for peace in struggling neighborhoods and an inspiration to us all.”

Ms. Chéry has received many other awards, including the Lady in the Order of St. Gregory the Great, bestowed by Pope John Paul, the Search for Common Ground 2001 International Service Award, and the American Red Cross 1998 Clara Barton Humanitarian Award.

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The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in Washington, DC, is the largest membership organization of professional social workers with 145,000 members. It promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW also seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through its advocacy