Honor Martin Richard The Way His Parents Wanted By Donating To The Martin W. Richard Charitable Foundation
The execution of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev wasn't what Bill and Denise Richard wanted. The parents of the child Dzhokhar and Tamerlan killed with their homemade bomb near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon had been clear: In a front-page editorial in the Boston Globe on April 16 this year, they penned a plea for Tsarnaev not to be executed. The headline read, "To end the anguish, drop the death penalty." Tsarnaev will be executed, but there is one thing you can do to honor Martin's parents' wishes: donate to the Martin W. Richard Charitable Foundation, which was set up in the 8-year-old's honor to ensure, in Martin's words, "No more hurting people. Peace."
Martin had made the sign as part of a school project into nonviolent protest, and it circulated widely after his death. The foundation was set up to honor Martin's wishes by investing in education, athletes, and the community.
In the foundation's own words on its JustGiving page:
Martin was an 8-year-old boy who loved learning, sports and the world around him. He was a school "peacemaker," and recognized at a young age that while we are all different, we are all the same. The way Martin saw the world, anything was possible.
You can donate to the foundation here.
In their Boston Globe op-ed, the parents of the 8-year-old wrote:
We understand all too well the heinousness and brutality of the crimes committed. We were there. We lived it. The defendant murdered our 8-year-old son, maimed our 7-year-old daughter, and stole part of our soul. We know that the government has its reasons for seeking the death penalty, but the continued pursuit of that punishment could bring years of appeals and prolong reliving the most painful day of our lives. We hope our two remaining children do not have to grow up with the lingering, painful reminder of what the defendant took from them, which years of appeals would undoubtedly bring.
Martin's sister, Jane, lost a leg in the blast. Jane learned to use a prosthetic, and is frequently seen as a symbol of Boston's rebuilding after the bombings.
Steve Mellin, the state's prosecutor, noted to the jury that both Tsarnaev brothers were well aware of the damage they were about to do to Richard and others. Mellin stated that Tsarnaev "saw he had place that bomb approximately four feet behind a row of children," Tweeted reporter Adam Reilly. The death of Martin — who suffered injuries to every part of his body, witnesses testified, ultimately dying from loss of blood — was undoubtably central to the prosecution's case and thus, arguably, the jury's decision; jurors openly cried in court when Martin's father testified about his experience.
"I saw a little boy who had his body severely damaged by an explosion. From what I saw, there was no chance," Bill Richard told the court.
Tsarnaev can expect years of much-discussed appeals ahead of him before his execution, in which the Richards can possibly expect to be invited to testify.
"For us, the story of Marathon Monday 2013 should not be defined by the actions or beliefs of the defendant, but by the resiliency of the human spirit and the rallying cries of this great city," Bill and Denise wrote in the Boston Globe.
Images: CNN, ABC, FirstGiving/Screengrab