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Community remembers advocate for peace

Sister Karen Klimczak
SSJ Sister Karen Klimczak Center For Nonviolence
Sister Karen Klimczak

At a time when violence is prevalent in the public eye, Peaceprints and Bissonette House are remembering an advocate for peace.

https://youtu.be/imHrkXBT6cQ">Sister Karen Klimczak founded both organizations on Buffalo’s East Side to help ex-criminal offenders turn their lives around. She was a beloved member of the community who was tragically murdered a decade ago by one of the very people she was trying to help.

To commemorate her memory and her love for helping children in the community, a free community party was held at Ephesus Ministries Parish Hall on what would have been Klimczak’s 73rd birthday.

“We thought what better way to commemorate her and celebrate her legacy than through a birthday party for the community and the children,” Peaceprints Executive Director Cindi McEachon said. “So this weekend we had an amazing turnout and a free community event on the eastside of Buffalo right next door to the Bissonette House and it was a wonderful experience.”

Klimczak’s message of non-violence can be seen today symbolized by the organization’s “dove signs.”

“Sister Karen has her dove signs. She came up with idea shortly before her passing," McEachon said. "She wanted something to represent peace, to offer folks in the community if they wanted to say that they stand for peace and it came out with the eye leaf Peaceprints dove.”

The signs can be hung in front windows or out in yards. The sign hangs in front of the Bissonette House with a number indicating the number of days since the last homicide in the city.

Credit SSJ Sister Karen Klimczak Center For Nonviolence

With 227 shootings in Buffalo this year, Klimczak’s message is as important as ever. McEachon urges members of the community to work together, as the issue is too big of an undertaking for one individual.

The organization will continue to honor Klimczak through growth.

“Ways of continuing and keeping her legacy alive are what we are about," said McEachon. "As I learn more and more about what she was involved in, which I can say is honestly incredible the amount of things she covered, we are continuing to expand and resurrect many of those activities and keep them going.”