Anyone who's read here for long knows that I don't mix my personal or other business life with the blog much. This is supposed to be a site about the Blazers, not so much about Dave. So unless a story, reflection, or experience will illuminate something about the team I won't usually share it. But I'm making an exception for this one thing.
This Sunday a little band I belong to is putting on a benefit concert. It's not so much that I'm inviting people to come, as it's well outside the Portland area and thus out of reach for most of you, but I think awareness on the subject is a good thing. The organization we're honoring and trying to support is called Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse. In a nutshell it's a non-profit organization that helps victims of domestic violence and educates young folks about healthy relationships and power dynamics so maybe they don't have to suffer.
This cause is pretty dear to my heart because my late mother experienced abuse herself from her first husband. This wasn't my dad...I didn't grow up anywhere near things like that. But I have older half-siblings who did. I've seen the effects abuse can have on people and families. It doesn't surprise me that it happened to my mom because it can happen to anyone. The part that makes me saddest--the thing that even now I have a hard time conceptualizing even though I know it was true--is that back in those days people didn't talk about that sort of thing. There were no shelters to go to. There was nobody you could talk to about it. Nobody really stood up and said out loud that it existed, let alone that it was wrong. So how was a young, in those days dependent (particularly financially), woman supposed to cope or end it or get out? It went on far longer than it might have if someone had been willing to offer hope and support.
That's why Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse is important. Many communities or counties that you live in will have analogous organizations helping out people near you, which are also important. They provide safe shelter, individual and group counseling, legal support, child advocacy, and a host of other critical, and free, services. In an age when we talk about and at least try to understand plenty of once-taboo subjects (divorce, cancer, depression) people experiencing domestic violence often still suffer in silence...except for the voices of these folks. Nobody's children should grow up thinking that abuse is normal...simply the way things are. Nobody should be left without an out or a hand. But somebody has to speak, admit that this happens, and affirm that it's wrong or else it becomes both normal and inescapable.
So anyway, if you will, take a moment to thank folks who work to help victims of domestic violence. Maybe we could be a little more aware that these are real issues that affect lives beyond just those we see in sensationalist, after-the-fact headlines. If you want to know more about the issue or about ATVP you can check their website here. Remember, you probably have a local organization that does the same kind of work. Do what you can, in whatever way you can, to make it better.
And hey, if you do happen to live in the Palouse area--Lewiston Idaho, Clarkston or Pullman Washington, University of Idaho or Washington State or Lewis and Clark State College or somewhere around there--the concert isn't very far from you. E-mail me (address below) if you want to come and I'd be happy to give you directions. It's this Sunday at 7:00 p.m. Admission is free. Just being there shows support for something good. And you'd get to meet Dave outside of the blogging context, which is a rare and unheard of treat. In this case I would be the one in front with the big microphone in front of my face, which makes me pretty hard to miss.