This is my third year walking in the Hot Chocolate Run and my third year Stepping Up for Safe Passage. I’ve set a $300 goal and I’ve raised $116 so far.
Every year, ask my son Rhys and I walk and Step Up, raising as much as we can for Safe Passage. We do it for friends and family members that I know have been in an abusive relationship. But the person I think about the most is my grandmother.
When my grandmother was a young woman, she was in an abusive relationship. The details are vague. What I do know is that her first husband was horribly abusive, and left my grandmother permanently disfigured. He did serve some jail time and she did go back to him. But eventually she fled. She fled, across the country, with a toddler in tow. She met my grandfather and started a new life and a new family. I’m so proud of her and what she accomplished.
I think about how severe the social stigma was then, around 1950. She couldn’t stay in her own community. There was no Safe Passage for her then. There was no counseling, no specially trained lawyers, no 24 hour hotline, and no community support. She was able to make a new life for herself, but it was so much harder than it should have been.
I Step Up because I want Safe Passage to be able to help every person, every family, and every child who is living with abuse. I want to be part of a community that rallies around survivors. I want to tell survivors that they are worth it and that they deserve safety and hope and happiness. They’re important to us, and we want them to have the best of help.
By Stepping Up for Safe Passage, I’m giving them that help. It is so important.
I have $174 more to raise before I reach my goal. In the next two weeks, my focus is to follow up with the people who’ve said they want to donate, and to reach out to more friends who I haven’t yet asked. And I’m also pushing my team – the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence – to Step Up too. I’m proud to walk every year in honor of my grandmother. But I’m even prouder to Step Up for Safe Passage.