NextStep hosts gathering of ‘reflection and hope’



PERRYNextStep Domestic Violence Project, Passamaquoddy Peaceful Relations Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence Advocacy Center and Indian Township Passamaquoddy Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence Advocacy Center are holding “A Gathering for Reflection & Hope” on Saturday, April 23, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Sipp Bay Preserve, Maine Coast Heritage Trust (rain date April 30).

“After a painful winter of loss, violence, and isolation, in which there were several domestic violence-related homicides, we’re hearing from Washington County community members that many are scared, angry and experiencing heightened risk or danger,” said Anna Viertel, NextStep coordinator of community response. “We asked ourselves, how can we facilitate a safe, confidential process to express feelings, experiences or needs around domestic violence and its impacts on individuals and communities in recent months, even years?

“In partnership with NextStep’s tribal sister projects who also offer DV services in Washington County, ‘A Gathering for Reflection & Hope’ was created so everyone can come together to grieve, to offer acknowledgement and support, to show we are here for each other, and to empower anyone who is affected by fallout from domestic violence to access the resources we all have to help.”

Confidential, locked boxes will be onsite so participants may write down and drop in their thoughts, feelings, ideas, needs, experiences and dreams for their individual and communal futures. After the gathering, more boxes will be placed around Washington County, so everyone can continue to add their voices, combining them with those of their neighbors.

Viertel said, “Participants can make a concrete contribution to increasing safety, finding peace and facilitating change. When the boxes are collected, with the contributor’s permission, we will all be able to hear and see a collective statement to guide us: this is who we were in this moment, this is where we want to go.” Organizers hope to gather some of the anonymous comments to create an artistic piece.

To learn more, email [email protected] or call the NextStep helpline at 800-315-5579.

 

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