Central Alberta is once again one of the growing number of communities and regions throughout the world this month, trying to raise awareness of domestic violence issues, its effect on children and families and providing education on building healthy relationships.
November is Family Violence Prevention Month and for the second straight year, Soroptimist International of Central Alberta, part of a world-wide service organization for women and the Domestic and Relationship Violence Initiative Committee (DRVIC) at the Women’s Outreach Centre, have teamed up to launch the Purple Light Nights campaign.
An initiative encouraging people to shine a purple light in some way at their home or business, to honour the memory of those victims lost to domestic violence, give hope to those still living with abuse and show support for the survivors.
Sherri Smith, Member and Spokesperson for Soroptimist International of Central Alberta, says there was really good participation in the in augural campaign last year when they held a fundraiser to help purchase the initial purple lights being used in the initiative.
“The Mayor lit up the tree that she’s allowed to light up with whatever colour she wants at City Hall for Festival of Trees, she lit that one in purple,” said Smith. “City Manager Craig Curtis also allowed two trees on the side of the building, City Hall, to be lit in purple. The Penhold Multi-Plex lit their building in purple, hopefully this year that’s also still going to happen,” continued Smith.
“We have some people encouraging the Lighthouse at Sylvan Lake to be lit in purple and apparently the City of Lacombe is going to be doing something. We also have a collaboration with the Region for Non-Violence Coalition that has 16 communities in central Alberta that are all working together to create awareness about domestic violence,” added Smith.
Soroptimist International of Central Alberta is selling 60W light bulbs for $2 each and 75W light bulbs for $3 each or two for $5 for people and businesses to display, in efforts to raise awareness about domestic violence and show support for its survivors and victims.
One of the highlights this year according to Smith is Red Deer - North MLA Kim Schreiner doing a Member Statement in the Legislature November 2 about Purple Lights and how Red Deer was the first community in Alberta to hold the campaign and how it has spread to their sister club in Banff-Canmore who recently did the campaign as well.
“It’s a campaign that started in Washington State by a Family Violence Coalition down there,” said Smith. “We’re going to continue to keep doing it and just try to get the word out there that if people purchase a light, cause they’re very inexpensive, to just shine the light. You can shine it on your desk, you can shine it in your porch light, you can decorate your trees in purple lights or your shrubs or wear purple, you know anything like that,” stated Smith.
Purple lights can also be purchased at the Women’s Outreach, Sexual Assault Centre or Golden Circle in Red Deer. In addition, blankets with inspirational messages designed by burn survivor turned Inspirational Speaker Kelly Falardeau, can be sponsored for $40 each and given to another woman or child who has survived domestic violence. Smith says 24 blankets were sponsored last year and given to women at Julietta’s Place at the Women’s Outreach, some children at the Sexual Assault Centre and to some seniors at the Elder Abuse Shelter at the Golden Circle.
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