Through the month of October, purple lights will be hanging on lamp posts and in store fronts downtown. They're meant to be conversation pieces, and organizers hope those conversations will be about the issue of domestic violence since this is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Enumclaw's Domestic Violence Task Force took its cue from the city of Covington where the Purple Light Nights program to spotlight domestic violence first began, said task force leader Pattie Marshall.
In fact, it was Covington city employee and Enumclaw resident Victoria Throm who began the project that has since gone international in scope, said Marshall.
Marshall, herself a victim of domestic violence, addressed a small but diverse group of residents Saturday night on the corner of Cole Street and Initial Avenue during a tree lighting ceremony to mark the month-long effort.
She told the group that it was the support and resources she found in her neighbors and friends that helped see her through. She now works at Valley Cities Counseling & Consultation to continue helping others. "My life is hopeful now because of the people in this community," she said.
The group numbered fewer than 20 people, but those who attended represented the , local churches and ministries, , the and .
Linda Tarter, president of the Out of the Ashes Ministries in Black Diamond, is also on the DV task force and came to offer her support. "Our goal [of the ministry] is mental health, and we feel that is a huge piece in dealing with domestic violence," she said.
She came to the gathering to support the effort to bring awareness to the problem and for the victims, "let them know there's a place for them to come to."
Karen Mosher is an x-ray technician and mammographer at St. Elizabeth Hospital. Though she lives in Graham, she took the time to attend the event because she wanted to begin volunteering her time for a cause, and she chose domestic violence because she was inspired by a book she'd just read: Half the Sky. "I was moved by the story and felt it was something I needed to do," she said, emphasizing 'it' being helping people and especially women and children.
In order for the Purple Light Nights campaign to make a strong impact, organizers are hoping to inform local leaders and businesses about the effort and have them purchase and hang purple lights in their storefronts throughout the month, said Marshall.
The task force in the past few weeks has enlisted the help of teens at Enumclaw Youth and Family Services to help spread the word, Marshall said.
Running tandem to the Purple Light Nights program is the Silent Witness program, which involves silhouettes of people mounted at various locations in the city that tell stories of domestic violence.
The silhouettes are location at City Hall, the city library, Chamber of Commerce, the Senior Center, Enumclaw Youth and Family Services and the Lee Restaurant.
Enumclaw's DV group operates under the umbrella of the LINCCK (Linking Civility, Compassion and Kindness) group, which itself came about as a result of several health summits organized by the , according to Marshall and local attorney Trip Hart.
LINCCK in Enumclaw back in May where organizers outlined projects under way to promote awareness and civility in the community. An ongoing sister project is .
If you are interested in purchasing some purple lights, they are available at the and . The city of Enumclaw funded the purchase of these lights, according to Marshall.