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Justice Vessels: Tzedakah Box For Tina

Scorched tree branches, stainless steel, wool roving, thread

16 x 16 x 22 inches


This Tzedakah Box is one of the first of a series, the development of which has inspired and sustained me and most importantly, given me hope. As I have admired the work of Chaplain Clementina Chéry for a very long time, I am delighted to dedicate one of the first Women of Valor Tzedakah Boxes to her.

I met Chaplain Clementina (Tina) M. Chéry about nine years ago after moving from California to Boston. Tina’s story of losing her fifteen-year-old son Louis to gun violence was the motivation behind her founding of the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute. Her strength of personality continues to inspire me and others.

I was deeply moved by the idea that one can use such a personal tragedy to propel others to action. Tina was able to channel her pain into the betterment of society. Tina has used her pain, her grief, and her unimaginable loss to work towards a different world. She was inspired by both looking back at the world her son left behind, and by looking forward to the more just world he imagined. Chaplain Chéry is an incredible manifestation of valor, justice, and strength.

In conversation with Tina, she shared not only her personal story with me but also the principles that guide her work and give her strength in the face of incredible adversity. She draws much of her strength from God and asks herself every day, “What can I do? What is in my control? How can I do good today?” Her core

principles by which she lives every day and which she has instilled throughout the organization resonate deeply with me:

Love, Unity, Faith, Hope, Courage, Justice, and Forgiveness.

To these, I say, Amen.

The Tzedakah Box created in her honor resembles a burnt nest, a symbol of the hardship she has endured, but from the nest rises a representation of Tina’s incredible conviction to act as an agent

for change. I dedicate this Tzedakah Box to a true Woman of Valor: Tina Chéry.

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