“My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you.” — Audre Lorde.
Power and control resulting in abuse most often happens in silence. It almost has to be that way! Without the silence, everyone would see the abuse and insist on its end. But what if what we think we see isn’t accurate? This “fear of intruding into the silence” keeps us from saying anything at all. And what if we’re right in what we suspect? Are we really prepared to deal with the threat of that violence being brought to our own lives? No wonder we keep silent!
That’s why we’re here. More than just desiring to end violence in our own lives, we are working to end violence in our communities. One way to end violence is to be willing to expose ourselves to what might happen when we are prepared to end the silence; we’re here to listen. So how do we listen effectively, genuinely, and in a helpful and healthy way?
The See It! Stop It! Pagosa Springs Parent Leadership Project (SISI) uses the listening process when we gather. In our culture we are accustomed to interrupting and being interrupted. However, Parent Leaders of SISI are striving to listen in an authentic way, even when we don’t have the answer. Our purpose is to craft an environment where “safe listening” becomes possible. You don’t have to suffer by yourself.
When we listen, we strive to recognize the common elements from our own experiences, we listen to the heart behind the words, and we work to express true care and hope, listening attentively. We expect that listening is the first step toward finding solutions to our problems.
Come join us. Parent Leaders aren’t perfect. We are simply committed to moving in a direction for our children, our homes, our schools and our communities that insists there is a different and non-violent way of being in our world. We meet the first and third Wednesday of each month at the Pagosa Recovery Center at noon. We are here to walk through your experience alongside you. We believe that your own home ought to be the safe space for you to be able to decompress from the stresses of the world; if it’s not, and until it is, “We’re here for you”.
We are gathering and listening to your ideas for our See It! Stop It! Art Contest. You still have time to submit your entry forms to the Department of Human Services by Friday, Nov. 5. We are extending a special invitation to you, our community members, to join us Saturday, Nov. 13, at the Pagosa Springs Youth Center (Formerly the Power House) to view and select the winning symbol or icon. The winning entry will be used to represent See It! Stop It! Pagosa Springs Parent Leadership Project.
The Parent Leadership Project’s “See It! Stop It!” and Archuleta County Joint Utilities Association have partnered to host a food drive. Bring a can or nonperishable item to be donated. Lunch will be provided and a Bounce House. Every entry receives a prize.
Visit us on the web at www.seeitstopit.pagosaview.com for contest details and upcoming events.
See It. Stop It. Pagosa Springs Parent Leadership Project is co-sponsored by the Violence Prevention Coalition of Southwest Colorado (VPC) and the Archuleta County Victim Assistance Program (ACVAP). We are parent leaders working to end violence in our lives and our community.