Guest Op-Ed : Not Everyone in Boston Feels Resilient. We’re Working to Change That.

By Mayor Martin J. Walsh

There is no question that Boston is a strong city that’s used to banding together. We celebrate championship-winning sports teams, remember our importance in the roots of American history, and cheer on runners along Boylston Street every April. We also stand together during the hard times. 

The city’s response following the Boston Marathon Bombing shed light on our community’s innate commitment to supporting our families, friends, and neighbors who have been impacted by violence of all forms. When faced with devastation, we remained united, and we endured. 

We recently finished installing the Marathon Markers at Boylston Street which represent the victims of the attack at the two bombing locations. These two monuments will light up the area and serve as a constant reminder of both what was lost on that fateful day and the determination and resilience of the survivor community at large. 

There are countless survivors still reeling from the trauma they endured on April 15, 2013 and the days following. There are people living with physical scars, and people living with invisible injuries. There are also people throughout Boston who have lived with this kind of trauma for years, due to other acts of violence, including gun violence, gang violence, and other tragic acts that impact entire neighborhoods. Not all Bostonians feel resilient, and I’m working to change that.

That’s why the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture is carrying out the One Boston Resilience Project, an inclusive process to envision the City’s collective strength after violence, as illuminated by the Boston Marathon Bombing. This project is intended to help us build connectivity and resilience across the city, through the development of a citywide memorial.

We’re leading a citywide community engagement process that allows us to come together as a city and reflect on what it means for all Bostonians to be resilient in the face of tragedy and trauma. This project will result in a piece of public art that aims to be reflective of all Bostonians, and will help us build connectivity and resilience together as one city. 

The goal of this community engagement process is to receive as much feedback from residents as possible. We want your input. What does resilience look like? What features should the memorial have to emphasize the strength of the City and everyone living here? 

Public input will be gathered over four months. We want to reach as many people as possible, so we will use a variety of platforms to receive feedback. We will distribute a citywide survey, conduct listening sessions, use digital outreach, and have creative and participatory activities in multiple languages with an emphasis on multicultural inclusion to maximize access to participation for all. 

We have a few dates already planned. Please join us for the first round of listening sessions:

• Back Bay: Tuesday, September 10 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Boston Architectural College’s Cascieri Hall, 320 Newbury St.

• Jamaica Plain: Thursday, Sept. 12 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at BCYF Hennigan Cafeteria, 200 Heath St.

• East Boston: Thursday, Sept. 26 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Veronica Robles Cultural Center, 175 McClellan Highway

• Dorchester: Saturday, Sept. 28, from 2-4 p.m. at Codman Square Branch of the Boston Public Library, 690 Washington St.

This is a project important to all Bostonians, and that’s why I want as much help as possible. I hope you’ll participate in the One Boston Resilience Project to create a much deserved memorial to highlight Boston’s journey to healing and commitment to supporting each other.  Through it all, we stick together. 

Learn more at

Martin J. Walsh is the Mayor of Boston.

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