Prince William’s and Princess Kate’s Visit to Roca Continues the Legacy of Princess Diana

We wish to extend a warm welcome to the Prince and Princess of Wales, Prince William and Princess Catherine, in anticipation of their visit to Chelsea today (Thursday) where they will stop in at the offices of Roca at 101 Park St. in Chelsea Square.

Since its founding in 1988, Roca has been working in the field of the intervention and prevention of urban violence among young men, offering a unique model that partners with local police departments and members of the community in an effort to show these young men that there is an alternative to street crime and violent behavior.

Roca also is one of the only organizations in the country working with a forgotten group of young mothers who are traumatized victims of abuse and neglect, teaching them the skills that these young women need to learn if they are to set themselves and their children on a path to success.

With urban crime rising at an alarming rate all across the United States, we are grateful to William and Kate for highlighting Roca’s crucial role in breaking the cycle of violence in the communities it serves.

The Prince and Princess are in Boston for a three-day visit that will culminate on Friday evening when they will preside at the second annual Earthshot Prize awards ceremony at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. Inspired by President John F. Kennedy’s “moonshot” speech, the Earthshot Prize is a global environmental prize that aims to discover and celebrate the best solutions to help repair the planet within the next decade.

King Charles, Prince William’s father, has been in the forefront of advocating for solutions to the problem of climate change.

However, it is the young royals’ visit to Roca that evokes memories of William’s late mother, Princess Diana, who traveled the globe on behalf of countless causes, most notably bringing to world attention the tragedy of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and the horror of landmines in conflict zones in the 1990s.

It is heartening to see that William and Kate are continuing the tradition begun by Princess Diana (we still remember where we were when we heard the news of her death on September 6, 1997) by embarking on their own journey of activism for social change; to paraphrase President Kennedy, William and Kate are carrying the torch for a new generation of the royal family.

We would note that Gerrish Hall in Chelsea Square, which is across the street from Roca’s offices at 101 Park St., was the site of a speech by Abraham Lincoln when he was a relatively unknown congressman from Illinois on September 19, 1848, during his two-week visit to Massachusetts on behalf of the Whig candidate for president, Zachary Taylor.

We trust that William and Kate’s visit today, 174 years later, will prove to be equally historic.

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