Dec. 30th 2000 Newsletter

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Dear Friends,

Happy New Year. I hope your Holidays were warm and wonderful. I am very happy because we have had more than twenty inches of snow in Minnesota since I returned from Barcelona on Dec. 13th. A few years ago I even considered moving to Canada because Minnesota was not living up to its wonderful winter reputation. :) But I am happy now. I took a long walk yesterday while the snow was falling gently. We have about eight inches of fresh snow and it looks like a diamond studded blanket over everything, sparkling in the sun. I know some of you think I'm crazy but it is one of the most wonderful sights in the world, seeing gentle snow fall in the light of the streetlamps. I am so sorry to hear that the South got alot of ice and it is clogging everything. Mother Nature is unruly at times. 

I am excited about where Silent Witness is going in this next year. We are making plans and asking people to step forward in new leadership positions. More on that later. But please know that we appreciate each one of you and we value your participation in Silent Witness. Together we can heal this country--and maybe now, even the world!

There is still time to make an end-of-year tax deductible contribution to Silent Witness. We would appreciate any donation that you are willing to give. Just send them or call in your visa number. 612-623-0999. 20 Second St. Suite 1101 Minneapolis, MN 55413.


Sylvia Richardson sends us this message from New Brunswick about a new SW exhibit in Canada:

I am a member of a family violence committee in St. Stephen, New Brunswick Canada. We had occasion to borrow the Silent Witness cutouts from Sue Fuller in Portland, Maine. The display held a great impact, and our committee would like to seriously explore developing such a project in New Brunswick. Any and all information you can provide to get us going would be helpful.

*Subsequently they have ordered materials to start their own exhibit. This is such wonderful news. Now we have several exhibits in Canada.


The UK Women’s E-mail Network is meeting to organize:

Meeting: Friday, Jan. 5, 2001

Syracuse University London Campus 24 Kensington Park Gardens London W11
Organised by AVIVA: Women's World-Wide Web Chair: Kate Burke

Papers: Agenda, What is eGroups? (details of free e-mail group services), Example of feminist network: AusFemNet

9.30am Arrive
10am Kate Burke: Introduction to E-mail lists: Uses/ Aims/ Example: AusFemNet /
10.30 Discussion: Aims of UK list: e.g. Posting events/ information & ideas/discussions/ policy on status of women/ support for lobbying

11.00 Discussion: Name of UK E-mail list/
11.30 Discussion: Feminist parameters of postings to e-mail list:/inclusions -length of postings / exclusions (e.g. personal/commercial/anti-abortion/ religion/ attachments)

12.00 Practicalities of list: Hosting/ joining/ moderator(s)

Contact: Kate Burke.  Tel: 0207 602 0140,  E-mail: , Web site:

*This is great. The European Women are broadening their group. Please let us know what happens as a result of this meeting.

Charity Haines writes us from Bloomington, Indiana:
We did do a Silent Witness exihibit here in Bloomington through Middle Way House for October Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We had 4 witnesses from the six counties we serve. A local church, whose member was a victim and witness, made the witnesses for us and my intern boss Amy Woods wrote the messages that the witnesses bore. We put them up with a domestic violence display that I worked on also, in City Hall for the whole month of October. Originally City Hall did not want us to have them up their the whole month but when they saw them at the ceremony they were moved and allowed us to keep them up. I know personally it was very moving for me to see all the hard work I did accomplished something and I thought it conveyed an amazing message.

We had lots of good comments on the whole display and the witnesses. Also Sara Huntington is the Outreach Service Coordinator at Middle Way House and heard about Silent Witnesses and had me start it so I think she should go on the web site too please. I just wanted to thank you for starting such an amazing project as silent witnesses which is so moving.

*Charity and Sara, thanks for the wonderful work in Bloomington. We applaud you and will do whatever we can to assist you in your efforts. Welcome to the network.


Connie Fox and Diane Graeter update us with the following Court Watch Report from Louisville:


During the summer and the fall we have been busy working on several judicial committees. We have attended the committee meetings on a monthly basis: 1) a separate domestic violence docket/court committee and 2) a Central Intake Center Committee. The Central Intake Center is for all victims of domestic violence entering the court system. The Center is scheduled to open in early January 2001. During its hours of operation, the Center will accommodate a victim of domestic violence, from taking out an emergency protection order (EPO), a criminal warrant, and assistance to their immediate needs and safety issues. One could think of this as a "one-stop shopping trip".

On October 16, 2000, the NCJW Court Watch Committee met and decided toactively support the Central Intake Center in the following ways: 1) by providing cell phones from our 911 DV program, 2) by giving bears dressed in hand-knitted sweaters and caps to the children accompanying victims who are utilizing the Center, 3) by donating clothing from our Nearly New Shop to victims and their children who have fled their home, and 4) by purchasing a computer that will provide crucial victim data to the courts.

Our volunteers continue to act as "watch-dogs" in District Court. If you are interested in joining us in making a difference, please contact either the NCJW office or one of us.

*The news is so good from Louisville. We are thrilled to hear this. All of working together will reduce domestic violence and heal it. Thanks Connie and Diane. You are angels.


Lauren Comai of the Jr. League of Ann Arbor writes:
Our 27 Silent Witnesses continue to tour the state of Michigan raising awareness of dating and domestic violence. This year we have placed the witnesses in schools and universities, civic organizations, and local businesses. Our travel calendar continues to fill up. We are in the process of rolling out a Girl Scout badge in our local troops that focuses on Healthy Relationships. The Junior League is sponsoring the rollout of the badge and has helped to develop the curriculum surrounding the badge.

We have continued to collaborate and form partnerships with local organizations to provide educational materials to the community and go into the schools to discuss healthy dating relationships and warning signs of dating violence. We are moving forward on producing a second video after the success of our "In Love and In Danger" video. The video will target teenage boys and we will have a roundtable discussion in January with local experts to define the parameters of the video. Thanks for your support!

*Lauren, this is wonderful news. The work with the Girl Scouts is exciting. And the focus on the boys in high school is so needed. Thanks for all the great work.


WATCH, the court watch program in Minnesota, has created a new manual for initiating programs. It is called "Developing a Court Monitoring Program." It includes information on how to get started, monitoring activities, research and investigation and advocacy and education. To order or for further information, please contact WATCH at 612-341-2747 or email to

*Ever more information coming from Watch. They are doing such a great job. More power to you all.


Silent Witness Ambassadors Visit two Countries in January:
Susan Mundale, the chair of the Silent Witness board is visiting Costa Rica and will hopefully have a meeting with Ann Hidalgo, our SW contact there. This is so exciting. We are reaching around the world and learning so much in the process. And Lois Herman, our International Ambassador is planning to visit our SW Coordinator in London and then go on to France and will bring SW materials with her to see what interest she can generate there. These are wonderful contacts. Keep up this great work.

Minnesota History Center collects Silent Witness archives:
The greatest thing has happened this week. The Minnesota History Center has decided to take virtually all the the Silent Witness archival material. This includes early papers, videos, tapes, products, banners, 1997 March memorabilia, photos, scrapbooks, states exhibit information, a "new" Silent Witness figure and body bag, the US map of the order in which the states came on board, and our published books. 

Once it has been sorted and labeled, anyone can come and study how Silent Witness started, how it grew and what inspired it to become what is is today. You can all be proud of the fact that we are now going down in history!! In a hundred years your families can read about what you all accomplished way back in the last century. Our sincere thanks to Craig Wright who is our contact there and has been so helpful and gracious in helping us sort out what is most appropriate for their use. How about the Smithsonian next!!

A New Way to Make Silent Witness work worldwide:
We just got a great idea based on what Arizona State University did this year, having students carry the Silent Witnesses around for a day. We wondered whether we could make life sized Silent Witnesses out of fabric and then wear them pinned to our backs for a day to help them make their statement. This might be especially useful in countries that have more access to fabric and less access to the resources for wood or plastic figures. We could send samples (or fax the miniature size figures) made of fabric so that the actual sizes could be duplicated. Isn't this a creative idea and yet another innovation in the Silent Witness march forward?

How to send a message to Silent Witness:
I'm still getting used to our new and "better" email system. But in the meantime if you want to send a message to me to put in the newsletter there are two good ways. Send me things at the regular email address you have always used, or you can just use the simple web site address which is Either way I'll get the info and we are always glad to hear from you. Keep those cards and letters coming.

Silent Witness is gearing up for the New Year:
Now that the Holidays are almost over we need to be thinking of what we will be doing this year in Silent Witness. I am asking several people who have been active with us in the past to take on some new leadership roles that will move us to the next levels of activity and results. I'll spell those out as soon as I hear from everyone. 

I plan to visit several states again this year and I am really looking forward to that. I love meeting you and finding out what drives your passion. I will be hoping to visit about eight or more states and help to bring energy and hope to your work and express my gratitude for what you are doing already.

And this spring I am moving the Silent Witness office. I'll keep you posted on the new address and telephone numbers etc as soon as I have that information. Please be patient with me in the meantime. It is a difficult thing to move and sometimes things get slowed down in the process.

I leave you today with a word from the Dalai Lama as we begin the new millennium (for real this time):
Instructions for Life in the new millennium : 

  1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

  2. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.

  3. Follow the three Rs: (1) Respect for self, (2) respect for others, (3) responsibility for all your actions.

  4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.

  5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.

  6. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

  7. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

  8. Spend some time alone every day.

  9. Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values.

  10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

  11. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time.

  12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.

  13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don't bring up the past.

  14. Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve immortality.

  15. Be gentle with the earth.

  16. Once a year, go someplace you've never been before.

  17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.

  18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.

  19. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon. 




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