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March 21, 2003

Dear Friends,
The war has started and it is a sad and frightening time for the world. At Silent Witness we are, first and foremost, a network that focuses on healing, hope and help for ourselves and each other. May we each bring our healing presence everywhere we go in these times of international tension and polarization. Bring the spirit of calm, love, hope, healing, collaboration. Don't let yourself take in more anger or fear or hatred from the press or other people than you can tolerate. Breathe in all of those tensions and breathe out calm.

We are no strangers to violence and pain but we have learned to deal with it in a way that is healing for us. Take the Silent Witness approach with you into all of your conversations in the next month. See what a difference it can make. And try knitting or sewing a shawl or scarf for someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one. It may be a small gesture but it is a peace-filled gesture and it makes a great deal of difference to the knitter and to the receiver.

Susan Pedersen (MN Silent Witness activist, new email address), Kirsten Jennings (DV Activist, friend of SW, NYC, new email address), Angie Taylor (Mother of DV victim, WY), Raye Dean (Rural Iowa Crisis Center, Creston, IA), susan Gustaitis (VP of Silent Witness Rhode Island)

ATTENTION: If you are a mother, daughter, grandmother or sister of a woman or man who's been murdered in domestic violence and would like to receive a comforting hand made shawl to remind you of the care and love of others please contact me. We have shawls available and would love to give you one. If you know of other women who have a loved one who has been murdered in DV, let us know her name as well. We also have a limited number of scarves for
men who are close relatives of murdered women. Thanks. Please pass this word along so the healing can move forward.


Tina Campbell writes about the upcoming events in Sacramento:

California Victims Compensation Program will be honoring National Victims Rights Week: March on the Capitol: One of the highlights of Victims' Rights Week is the Annual March on the Capitol in support of victims and to demonstrate the importance of organizations and legislation supporting victims. The 14th Annual March is being held on Tuesday, April 8, 2003. The march begins at 11:45 a.m. and ends on the west steps of the Capitol. Victim Compensation Program and Government Claims Board staff will join the March.

Information Booth: As in years past, the Board will have a booth at the Capitol to inform the public of the services we provide victims. We'll also be adding the Silent Witness silhouettes as part of our display. Other agencies will be present with similar displays highlighting their services or programs.
*thanks, Tina, for this update. It is so important to keep showing up.
That's half the battle.

And this encouraging note about the new full-service DV center in San Diego from Gael Strack, Asst. City Attorney:

Everything we hoped would happen is happening and more. It's absolutely exciting. We're also overwhelmed, humbled, empowered, and tired. We opened in October 2002, that month we saw approximately 90 walk-ins (victims); 200 site visitors (professionals local, state and national); 650 phone calls to our main number; 800 DV police reports; and 6000 hits on our web site. In January 2003, we saw close to 500 walk-ins; 650 site visitors; 1400 phone calls; 900 DV police reports; and 13,500 hits on our web site.

We're already planning a DV march in October -- women will be wearing wedding dresses and men will be wearing tuxes. I was touched by the march led by the National Coalition Against DV in Sept last year to honor the memory of Gladys (a New Jersey woman who was murdered on her wedding day by her ex-boyfriend). On the Silent Witness front, last October we went before City Council for our annual DV proclamation but this time we gave each of the city council members one of your mini-silent witness silhouette -- each
one representing a DV homicide victim. It was very moving and powerful. We also had survivors in the room as well as friends and family members of the deceased victims. After the public testimony, there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

*It is so powerful to keep bringing strong visual reminders of the effects of DV to our communities. And having a service center with everything in one building is amazing. Let's hope this helps bring those homicide umbers down even farther. More power to you.

Pat Lupson updates us on her role in helping the community review how her daughter's murder was handled:

At the end of this month I'm to address a police conference here in
Maryland. They've asked me to talk about our dealings with the law
enforcement after Gina and the boys were murdered. I think it would be a good opportunity to address how they can better serve those that are involved in domestic violence. Any ideas or thoughts?

*Pat, I'm sure there will be people who will respond to this request.


WCCO TV, the largest TV station in the Twin Cities is doing a special
Dimension story on the Sheila's Shawls project. They are highlighting three women in the same family who received shawls and the woman who knit one of those shawls. Be sure to tune in if you are in this region. Tuesday, March 25, 10:00 PM News. This is the five month anniversary of the Wellstones' death.

A friend of mine (Janet) who works as a chaplain at a children's hospital in the Twin Cities called me after she heard about the Sheila's Shawls project.

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