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News & Updates

Watch World in Watertown's workshop:
Watertown's Human Rights Commission

6 hands drawn in unique colors, forming a circle

 In this workshop you will: 

  • Learn about the role of the newly forming Watertown Human Rights Commission. 

  • Hear Commissioners from nearby towns share their experiences.

  • Get tips on how to apply, the timeline. 

  • Panelists:

    • Kimberly Haley Jackson, Belmont Commissioner

    • Liz Cremens, former Medford Commissioner and Chair, Watertown Resident Advisory Committee

    • Bevin Croft, former Cambridge Commissioner



Click here to watch.

Click here to read the slides.

Applications are now closed and the selection process is underway.

Tabling at Pride and Juneteenth!

Thanks to all who came out to these two wonderful celebrations!  We had fun!

Sarah, Bevin & Xin smiling at us, at the World in Watertown table
White board filled in with answers to our question: What makes Watertown welcoming?

Watertown Walks for Peace (WW4P) raised over $5,500

for the 2023 Mother’s Day Walk for Peace

to support the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute.

 Thanks to all who joined the walk and all who donated, enabling us to surpass our goal of $4,000.

All donations support the mission of the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute,

with the goal of empowering survivors and communities impacted by murder, trauma, grief and loss to cultivate cycles of peace and healing.


World in Watertown is proud to have joined these other sponsors: 

Watertown Citizens for Peace, Justice, and the Environment; Progressive Watertown; First Parish of Watertown; Church of the Good Shepherd; Belmont Watertown United Methodist Church

Parents and kids are walking in a crowd, with the Watertown Walks for Peace banner.

World in Watertown Announces New Leadership

January  15, 2023


Retiring and new World in Watertown Board leadership transition meeting, Dec 2022

The World in Watertown Board of Directors is delighted to announce a transition to new leadership. 


World in Watertown grew out of an unsuccessful effort to establish an official Human Rights Commission in 1999-2000.  Since then, World in Watertown has sponsored a variety of human rights-related projects and programs over the years, including the popular Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Breakfast and many other educational events. However, with the passing of one of its founding members and the restrictions of the pandemic, the organization has been less active in recent years.

Now a successful outreach effort by Nicole Gardner, Treasurer, and past Board members has resulted in the recruitment of a new leadership team who will provide new vision and energy to World in Watertown.  The new World in Watertown Board members include Xin Peng, Chair, Bevin Croft, Ben Jerome, Rachel Kay, and Sarah Zoen.  Nicole Gardner will continue to serve as Treasurer.  See brief bios for these new Board members, below.

The new board includes community activists who have already demonstrated their commitment to continuing the work that has been so central to World in Watertown.  Beginning in 2021, as part of the Charter Review process, they gathered information from other communities and drafted  recommendations for a new Human Rights Commission (HRC) in Watertown.   They are committed to continuing their advocacy for human rights and equality through a revitalized World in Watertown.

Retiring Board members include Chuck Dickinson, David Downes, Joanne Hammil, Larry Raskin, Susan Klaw, and Will Twombly.    They are excited about the energetic and caring younger adults who want to carry on the spirit and work of the organization that has advocated for fairness, understanding, and inclusion for over two decades. They couldn’t be happier to welcome these wonderful people as new leaders, and have pledged to remain active and do all they can to support them and assist with a smooth transition. 

Meet the New Board of Directors

Xin Peng, Chair          

I moved to the US from China for graduate school when I was 20 years old and currently live in Watertown with my husband Dylan. I work as a full-time Software Engineering Manager at ZoomInfo in Waltham, and as a part-time Yoga instructor, teaching all-level yoga classes that are open to the community.


I am a first-generation immigrant interested in promoting equity and inclusion with a focus on Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) populations and establishing solidarity between AAPI populations and other underrepresented groups. I first became involved in community work in Watertown when I organized a rally at Watertown Square after the 2021 shootings of Asian Americans in Atlanta.


Before moving to the US, I volunteered for the National Intercity Games of the People's Republic of China and as a teacher for a school in a poverty-stricken mountainous area. I co-established and currently run an AAPI committee at ZoomInfo, volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Massachusetts, and volunteer at the Farm with Food for Free.

Nicole Gardner

Nicole Gardner, Treasurer

I live in the East End, with my husband and cats. Before retiring, my career was in management consulting, HR, and Diversity & Inclusion. My 'second act' was at Perkins School for the Blind, starting a program to help blind and visually impaired young adults get into the workforce.


I am committed to sustainability, equity and belonging for all, and transparency in government. I'm involved in activist groups in Watertown, including World in Watertown, Watertown Forward, and Watertown Citizens for Peace, Justice, and the Environment. I'm a proud founder of Buy Nothing Watertown, which has strengthened our community while lightening our impact on the earth.


I am honored to serve as the City Councilor for District A. 

Rachel Kay, Clerk / Secretary
(she / her)

I live in Watertown with my son, Adam, a student at Lowell.  I have a PhD in Educational Research and Measurement from Boston College and currently work at MIT Admissions Office as Director of Research and Data Analysis.

Professionally, I have been involved in education including math curriculum, assessment, and measuring results for over 25 years. In Watertown, I serve on the board of Watertown's SEPAC (Special Education Parents Advisory Committee) and a member of the Commission on Disability, supporting my belief in equity and accessibility for all.

I look forward to more opportunities to promote these values as part of World in Watertown.

pic - rachel kay.jpg
Ben pic.JPEG

Ben Jerome

I immigrated to the US along with my mom and siblings from Haiti to join my dad when I was 17 years old. I am a graduate of Boston Public Schools and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.


I hold liberal left leaning political views and am a strong believer in the inherent worth and dignity of every person. Along with my family, I have been a member of the Watertown First Parish for the past 6 years. During this time, I have been active in religious education, teaching Sunday classes, WFP Families of Color Affinity group, pledge drive as a personal caller as well as a circle supper facilitator.


I am also a member of the leadership team for the Annual Unity Breakfast in Watertown. I am involved in my children’s school's diversity organization and sing with my kids in the North Cambridge Family Opera.


I earn a living as an automation test engineer in the digital experience department at MassMutual and love working on various coding projects as well as woodworking in my free time.

Bevin Croft


I live on the West End of Watertown with my partner and two kids who attend Cunniff Elementary.


I hold a masters and doctorate in social policy and direct the behavioral health team at the Human Services Research Institute where I conduct research and provide technical assistance for disability, mental health, and addiction treatment systems.


In my work, I am interested in person-centered practices that promote self-determination and seek to elevate the voices of people with disabilities and others who've been historically left out of system-level decision making. In previous roles, I oversaw the human rights program for a large psychiatric rehabilitation organization in the Boston area and served as a Human Rights Commissioner in the city of Cambridge.


In my personal and professional life, I am interested in creating opportunities for transformative growth and dismantling inequities in communities and systems. 


Sarah Zoen


I live in the West End of Watertown with my husband, Dan, and our two boys, who attend Cunniff Elementary. I am an associate director at Pillar Two, a human rights consulting firm that advises companies and governments on human rights due diligence. Prior to that I spent some time at an ESG advisory firm where I led the human rights practice. Before making the move to consulting, I spent over 15 years at Oxfam America where I campaigned and advocated for human rights and gender equality in global supply chains.


My local volunteering work in Watertown started through diversity and inclusion efforts in the public schools and the Watertown Community Conversations initiative. In addition to serving on the WiW board, I volunteer as a senior fellow for the non-profit, Future 500, and recently completed terms as a board member for the Boston Network for International Development and as a Professional in Residence at the Brandeis Heller School. I hold an MA in Education and Sustainable International Development. I am also a member of the Hawaiian Kānaka Maoli.


Watertown Walks for Peace 2022

May 8, 2022

For the 8th year in a row, Watertown Walks for Peace (WW4P) joined other teams from Dorchester, Boston, and surrounding Boston communities to participate in the Mother’s Day Walk for Peace.  This annual fundraising event supports the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute in its critical advocacy and support work for individuals and communities that are victims of gun violence.   


In the past seven years WW4P has walked with others from Boston and surrounding communities and raised over $19,000 to demonstrate Watertown’s continued concern and caring for individuals, families, and communities affected by gun violence.   This year’s fundraising has raised the total to over $25,000.

This year’s Mother’s Day Walk for Peace was the first in-person walk since 2019.  And for the WW4P team it was the most successful effort to date. 


  • Donations.  The WW4P organizers set a 2022 fundraising goal of $3000, but 62 donors generously gave $6,582 – more than double the target amount and significantly more than we’ve ever raised before.   

  • Walking in Dorchester.   WW4P had a bus-full of 44 walkers (29 adults, 15 kids), including half of the donors who also participated in the Walk.  This level of in-person participation in the Mother’s Day Walk for Peace was also a statement of Watertown’s support for the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute. 

  • Sponsors.   WW4P was grateful for the financial support from several organizations that paid bus expenses or made donations to WW4P.  These sponsors included First Parish of Watertown; Survival Education Fund; Watertown Citizens for Peace, Justice and the Environment; and World in Watertown.

WW4P walkers were enthusiastic about the opportunity to walk with others in the walk from Town Fields, Dorchester, to Madison Park High School in Lower Roxbury.  Senator Will Brownsberger was once again a WW4P participant and said:  “I always try to participate in the Mother's Day walk.  It about reducing violence through reconciliation and forgiveness.  It sends an important message.”  

Nicole Gardner, a newly elected City
Councilor in Watertown, spoke from a mother’s perspective, “This event makes me feel in solidarity with mothers and the raisers of children across the city, and around the world, as we strive for peace and strive to end violence.“

2021 Virtual Fundraiser

Watertown Walks for Peace

For the seventh consecutive year World in Watertown helped to organized Watertown Walks for Peace -- Watertown residents joining together to support the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute and its services to families and communities affected by gun violence.   

This year was  the 25th anniversary of the Mother’s Day Walk for Peace, so we wanted to do our part – and set a fundraising goal of $3000 (almost 50% over our 2020 goal).     

=>  But we raised over $5000!!  That’s 67% above our goal of $3000!!  

=>  We also organized a “symbolic walk for peace” on Mother’s Day which attracted over 60 participants – including 10 kids.  We met at Church of the Good Shepherd at 8:00 am and walked together to the MLK public mural behind the Boys & Girls Club. 

=>  See local press coverage of WW4P 2021:

Once again (for the seventh year in a row), Watertown Walks for Peace demonstrated our concern and caring for individuals, families, and communities affected by gun violence.  

Why the Mother's Day Walk for Peace is important

The Mother’s Day Walk for Peace is sponsored by the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute in Dorchester, a center for healing and teaching, supporting those who have lost loved ones to homicide, and working with young people to teach the ways of peace.  The Institute has earned a reputation as an innovative leader for peace.         


Watertown Walks for Peace 2021 sponsors
World in Watertown

Watertown Citizens for Peace, Justice, and the Environment

First Parish of Watertown (Unitarian Universalist)

Church of the Good Shepherd

Kingian Response Team

World in Watertown co-sponsors immigration stories banners
June 2020

World in Watertown co-sponsored* a colorful and creative initiative to highlight Watertown immigration stories on banners that have been mounted throughout Watertown Square.  

The banners were created by students at the Hosmer Elementary School to illustrate the immigration stories of their families.   

Join the public dedication ceremony was held on Friday, June 26, at 6:30 pm in the Delta. 

* Other sponsors:  Town of Watertown, Mass Cultural Council, and Watertown Savings Bank 

full group, hands up.JPEG

Watertown Walks for Peace 2019

Watertown Walks for Peace 2020 
May 2020

Our 2020 fundraising goal:              $2020

Our 2020 fundraising total:  $3260  

  • This was the 6th consecutive year for Watertown Walks for Peace to support the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute.  Our giving will again help the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute meet the needs of gun violence survivors through its critical services, advocacy and training

  • This year's Walk for Peace was a "virtual walkathon" because of the Covid-19 crisis.  In spite of all the Covid-19 challenges, our combined enthusiasm and generosity resulted in strong participation and giving

  • Our 2020 virtual fundraising goal was $2020 … but we raised $3260 — $1240 (61%) *over* the goal 

  • This $3260 total is only $15 less than the amount we raised in 2019 ($3275) — when we had two buses of participants actually walking with others from Dorchester to City Hall

  • More importantly  — 55 individuals and families made donations this year … 8 more than in 2019 (47 donations).  

  • World in Watertown was a co-sponsor for this year's Watertown Walks for Peace, along with Watertown Citizens for Peace, Justice and the Environment.  First Parish and Church of the Good Shepherd were also generous supporters

  • Find out more:

News & Updates

This forum was organized in two parts:   learning about Islamic practices from Imam Ismail Fenni, of the Islamic Society of Boston’s Cambridge mosque;  insights from a local artist's paintings depicting Muslim practices in a small village in West Africa.


The forum introduced non-Muslim participants to the “Five Pillars of Islam” (faith, prayer, charity, fasting, and pilgrimage), and featureed paintings by local Watertown artist Sheri Kennedy interpreting the Five Pillars from her Peace Corps experience in Niger, West Africa.


The forum highlighted the similarities and differences of Islamic practices in different societies, and encouraged non-Muslim participants to reflect on their own religious and spiritual practices.


"Time is Always Right" Public Mural 

World in Watertown, as a convening organization for the Kingian Nonviolence Coordinating Committee, helped to organize and sponsor the dedication of a new public art project dedicated to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

The new mural was designed and created by Ruth Henry (a Watertown Middle School teacher and founder of the Kingian Nonviolent Conflict Resolution training curriculum) and a team of Watertown students, residents, police officers, and other town organizations.  

The mural was dedicated on June 7, 2019, at the basketball court in Saltsonstall Park, and now serves as public presence honoring Dr. King in a prominent Watertown location.

Watertown Walks for Peace 2019

World in Watertown was once again a lead organizer for "Watertown Walks For Peace" (WW4P), a contingent of Watertown familes, adults, and students marching in the annual Mother's Day Walk for Peace in Boston.  

Almost 100 Watertown residents participated in the event -- 74 of them as walkers and donors, and the others as donors only.  Almost 20 young people (family members or students from the Middle School and High School) provided energy and emotion throughout the walk. 

Most importantly, WW4P raised over $3000 for the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute, a Boston-based nonprofit working with individuals and families affected by gun violence. 

See below for the Watertown Tab's coverage of the event. 

"Watertown groups walk for a worthy cause"

Watertown Tab / Wicked Local

"Despite the rainy and cold weather on Mother’s Day, more than 75 Watertown youth, their parents and other residents joined others from Boston and surrounding communities in the Mother’s Day Walk for Peace from Fields Corner in Dorchester to Government Center.

The seven-mile walk raises funds and awareness for the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute, a center of healing, teaching and learning for families and communities impacted by murder, grief, trauma and loss ... "


Vigil to Commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

April 4, 2018 (5:30 - 6:30 pm)

Watertown Square  

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