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Peace billboards send positive message

The next time you’re in Roxbury, Dorchester, or Mattapan, look up. You may notice that some of the usual billboard advertisements for restaurants, television shows, and resort casinos have been replaced in favor of a more meaningful message: peace.

As part of a collaborative effort to curb violence and promote peace in our communities, this week the University of Massachusetts Boston launched a campaign with the City of Boston, the Boston Police Department, and Clear Channel to use billboards for a special purpose in several neighborhoods most affected by crime.

More than 20 teenagers in the Boston Police Department’s B-2 Summer Explorers and Youth & Police in Partnership programs expressed what the concept of peace means to them with heartfelt words and drawings on posters. The university’s graphic design team then combined the teens’ art, creating two different billboard designs, visible around the city at eight sites that have been donated by Clear Channel.

On Tuesday, we participated in the unveiling of the billboards during a moving ceremony at the corner of Washington and Harvard streets in Dorchester. Executives from Clear Channel and Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis attended the unveiling, as did the extraordinary group of young people whose work is now on display.

I would like to express my sincerest appreciation to our community relations and graphic design teams for their commitment to this project. Because of their hard work, this campaign has been a tremendous success. The work we did together highlights our ongoing mission to engage with our communities around issues of deep concern – and to be a resource for our local, national, and global communities.

I encourage you to visit our Flickr site to see photos of the artwork and photos of the billboard and event. Or you can read coverage of the event here and here.