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Homer stands up against violence

Posted: April 2, 2014 - 3:56pm
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Photo by Michael Armstrong, Homer News
From left to right, Joanna Tornes, Susan Cushing, and McHugh Pierre, deputy commissioner of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, participate in a Choose Respect rally March 27 at WKFL Park. They’re holding Green Dot placards that say “A green dot is any behavior, choice, word or attitude that promotes safety for everyone and communicates intolerance for violence.” Participants were asked to write down something they would do to create a green dot. Pierre’s placard said, “Help my neighbor keep his anger in check.”

About 50 people, including several Alaska State Troopers and Homer Police officers, attended Stand Up Homer, a March 27 gathering that was part of statewide Choose Respect rallies. Choose Respect is part of Gov. Sean Parnell’s initiative to address and end domestic violence and sexual assault.

“Together, we have the power to end this epidemic of domestic violence and assault,” said McHugh Pierre, deputy commissioner of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, representing Parnell at the rally. 

Sponsored by South Peninsula Haven House, the event also highlighted the Homer Green Dot program. 

Homer is one of five Alaska communities participating in Green Dot, an effort to dramatically reduce domestic violence and sexual assault. Green Dot refers to the idea of replacing “red dots” — indications or violence on a map — with “green dots,” instances where violence has been averted through techniques such as interruption, distraction and intervention.”

 Haven House defines a Green Dot as “any behavior, choice, word or attitude that promotes safety for everyone and communicates intolerance for violence.”

Participants at the rally were given big green dot placards and asked to write down something they would do. One participant, Flex School student Maria Kulikov, wrote “paying attention.”

“Paying attention to what’s going around you is the first step,” she said. “Because all of us are here, we’re paying attention to what’s happening.”

Haven House has challenged Homer to mark 1,095 Green Dots in April — the number of women on the Kenai Peninsula who experienced domestic violence or sexual assault in 2012, according to the Alaska Victimization Survey.

Several Green Dot activities are planned for April:

• From noon to 1 p.m. every Tuesday “quick conversations” on the Green Dot program will be held at K-Bay Caffé on Pioneer Avenue;

• From 9 to 11 p.m. this Saturday Holy Santos Gang performs at the Alibi, with a Green Dot talk. 

• Training sessions will be held from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. April 7 for restaurant, bar and taxi employees;

• Training sessions will be held from 5:30-8:30 p.m. April 23 for the general public. 

An RSVP is requested for the training sessions; call Rachel Romberg at Haven House, 235-7712 or email Rachel@havenhousealaska.org. 

For more information on Green Dot Homer, visit www.greendothomer.org or Facebook.com/groups/greendothomer.

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