If you were around Downtown Fort Kent earlier this afternoon you may have noticed a whole lot of kids using chalk on the side walks; well they weren’t just out there for fun! It’s all a part of the Chalk it Up Campaign for Domestic Violence awareness month. Sixty kids took to the side walks of downtown Fort Kent today with chalk in hand.
Outreach advocate of the Hope & Justice Project Tammy Albert says, ”It’s a campaign about awareness, and for people to just take notice as they’re walking the streets of downtown Fort Kent today.”
Every October; domestic violence is recognized across the country and in Fort Kent today the Hope & Justice Project held it’s 2nd annual Chalk it Up Campaign for domestic violence awareness. Kids chalked up messages of inspiration and memorialized those who lost their lives to domestic violence. In the past year alone, 11 people in the state were killed; and 2 of them were children.
Francine Garland Stark, Executive Director of the Hope & Justice Project says, ”Emotional, verbal, psychological, really controlling every aspect of the other person’s life. It’s something we have to talk about and notice together because otherwise it’s easy to pass by it and not see it.”
In Fort Kent today it was clear to see that community members do see it; and recognize that unfortunately, many cases of domestic violence happen behind closed doors.
State Representative Troy Jackson said, ”Bringing awareness to it lets those people know that it’s ok to report it, because it might be the thing that saves their life one day.”
The 11 lives that did fall victim to domestic violence were read aloud and one balloon at a time was released in their memory.
The Hope and Justice Project has 3 shelters in Aroostook County: In Houlton, the St. John Valley and Caribou. The project depends on the generosity of donations from the community and grants to function. The government shutdown is taking a toll on the Hope & Justice project because almost 75% of it’s funding is federal.