Friday, July 27, 2012
Why I Love Interim Place
This weekend, Interim Place will be holding its inaugural “Steps to End Violence Against Women” walk. In my capacity as a board member, I was asked to prepare some opening remarks for the walk and sat down to give some thought as to what I would want to say about Interim Place. In those quiet moments, I was overcome with thoughts of this incredible organization, but I only have about 30 seconds to speak on Sunday, so thought I would share with you the full version of what I want to say about Interim Place and its work with women experiencing violence and their children.
I didn’t know much when I started working with Interim Place. I mean, I knew things, but only 2 ½ years later can I look back with a clear understanding of so many things that I was in many ways ignorant about when I walked through the doors. I’ve learned, for example, that violence is about power more than anger. I’ve learned that macro political and economic decisions we make impact people (and, specifically at Interim Place, women) in ways that many of us don’t think about when we participate in politics and economics. I’ve learned that I have many, many privileges, and an undeniable responsibility to think about what I do with my privilege. So, I love Interim Place in how it challenges my thinking and keeps the realities and experiences of women - and particularly marginalized women - on our community agenda when we might otherwise not be thinking about them.
I love Interim Place because, in the way that I’ve experienced this organization, its doors have a “Welcome Home” sign on it that never gets taken down. In one of my first blog posts, I posted a video in which Patrick Stewart conveyed his experience growing up in a violent home and I was broken at the moment I heard him say, “We had nowhere to go”. Of all the challenges that violence and abuse raise, I am always most affected by the idea that women and children in that situation may feel that there is no alternative...there is no way to escape it. I LOVE that not only is Interim Place a never-closing door for women, but that when women and children come through the door, they are welcomed in a way that endlessly strives to make them feel at home. Not just a place to go, but a place to go home.
Finally, I love the women of Interim Place. Interim Place is run by an exceptional management team, staffed by women that commit themselves to frontline work in crisis situations every day, supported by a passionate group of volunteers, governed by a board of directors that I am incredibly proud to be a part of, and visited by some of the most courageous women you could ever hope to meet. From the first moment I walked up the steps to Interim Place, I have experienced an energy there that is fueled by commitment, passion, social justice, and – yes – love.
It’s no stretch, then, to imagine what drives me to get out on the road to run in support of Interim Place. I remember arriving to a meeting one night when a woman and her children were exiting a cab to go to the shelter. My initial reaction was one of sadness and despair for the journey they were facing, until I realized they were entering a space that would welcome them home, keep them safe, and help them to heal. A marathon doesn’t seem far enough to run in support of that work, and that hope. This is why I also continue to unabashedly ask you to support the work of Interim Place through a donation to Run Strong. Every donation made goes directly to support Interim Place’s programs and services.
Thank you for continuing to follow this journey in support of so many other journeys. And thanks for running with me.
(If you would like to make a donation, please click the link below). Thank you, thank you!
(Also, if you would like to participate in the Steps to End Violence Against Women Walk, please visit the website at http://stepstoendviolenceagainstwomen.weebly.com/index.html.)