October 24, 2013

Hope Works Clothesline Project at Lund

Posted in 50 Joy Drive, New Horizons Educational Program tagged , , , , at 8:25 am by Lund

Hope Works is an organization based in Burlington that is dedicated to ending all forms of sexual violence.  They work to be a leading voice in Vermont advocating for meaningful and effective change in law and society that will help them achieve that goal.  THey provide  a wide range of services to help and support  those whose lives have been affected by sexual violence.  Through education and outreach they spread their message to both women and men in order to keep the conversation about how to end sexual violence current in society.  It is far too prevalent and far too important for these discussions to be ignored.

One of the most moving and effective methods that they have to keep visible is ‘The Clothesline Project’.  This is a national outreach and awareness campaign which displays t-shirts  that holding messages of hurt, healing, and courage.  They are pinned onto  clotheslines for visibility and so a topic which is often silenced in society becomes very public.  It is an obvious “airing out of dirty laundry” in a way that makes the passerby stop to read and absorb the messages. The messages on the T-shirts are sometimes poignant and upsetting but at the same time show the seething strength of women who are not willing to be silent victims any longer.

Last week, visitors came from Hope Works to visit New Horizons Education Program to talk to the students about their work and to help them inscribe T shirts to hang up at Lund on our own clothesline.  It was a chance for the students to learn about the services and supports offered by Hope Works and to engage in conversations about sexual violence in the community.    “The students came together around the issue of domestic abuse towards women and shared stories,” says Ben Irish, teacher at NHEP.  “I could see from sitting at the same table that each student felt more empowered as we worked through The Clothesline Project. One student dedicated her t-shirt to Melissa Jenkins, her friend’s teacher at St. Johnsbury Academy who was murdered last year. Another student wrote the message on her t-shirt that read, ‘Don’t just stand there, do something’. I believe this project gave students an outlet to speak out against violence towards women in and safe and comfortable way.”

The Lund clothesline is hanging in the front lobby at 50 Joy Drive and is one of the first things that visitors see when they enter the building.  It is a powerful statement and we are proud at Lund to be able to participate in this very important community conversation.

Hanging out and visible, messages of hope and help at 50 Joy Drive as part of The Clothesline Project.

Hanging out and visible, messages of hope and help at 50 Joy Drive as part of The Clothesline Project.

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