Michael Jo Santos is a lifelong resident and 2015 makes 100 years his family been living in New Bedford. Michael comes from a family known for being active in their communities and that didn’t stop at him.
In 1991 Michael started a movement to rid hard drugs out of the then United Front Homes after a 2 year old child found and picked up a syringe. That movement ended when four people looking for heroin was told to leave and came back 3 hours later shooting into a crowd of 20 people, a crowd that consisted of woman and children. Michael was there when his 14 year old brother DJ pushed a 9 year old deaf child that couldn’t hear the bullets. DJ was struck through the heart and died while saving the child’s life.
As Michael was struggling with the loss of his brother and watching how it effected his own family he decided people needed to know what all families of murder victims go through in the aftermath and decided to raise awareness.
In 2006 Michael edited and produced a documentary titled 13 by 3 Mile problem that takes a deep look into the lives of families in the aftermath of losing a loved one to gun violence. The film earned Michael a full front page story in the Standard Times and the title 2006 Person of the year by SouthCoast247.com.
In 2010 Michael was hired as a Victim Witness Advocate by former Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter (now Mayor of Fall River) and since then been public speaking, holding workshops and fighting for victims’ rights in many different cities around Massachusetts.
In 2013 at the Victim’s Rights Conference Michael was given the Special Recognition Award by the Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston and in 2014 became and still is a board member of the Garden of Peace in Boston where over 900 names of Ma. homicide victims are engraved in stones and walls. In 2015 he was honored with the Shining Star Award by VEN*C Cultural Soul Academy, Inc.
Today Michael still works tirelessly to promote empathy towards families of murder victims. Michael believes that when one can empathize with families of murder victims especially a mother of father, they are much less likely to resolve conflict with violence. Michael still works as a Victim Witness Advocate with the DA’s office for the past 5 years now under District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III.