ASHLAND - Domestic violence is widespread in the Northland. To bring attention to that fact, New Day Shelter in Ashland held a luminary as a reminder of the tragic outcome it can have on loved ones.
It was a somber evening this past Thursday as New Day Shelter held their first luminary. Christa Grande says, "We want to raise awareness about domestic violence in our community and in our society as a whole." And bring attention to the fact that domestic violence happen can happen to anyone, anywhere. "Nobody is exempt, domestic violence is not biased, it effects everyone of all ages, all genders, all lifestyles and you really see that when you look through these bags," said Grande.
Each luminary represents 322 victims that have died at the hands of domestic violence in Wisconsin from 2000-2008. "Each bag tells their story of how they died and what happened to them," said Grande. "It's kind of upsetting because it's such a small region that we are representing and it's really hard, all the bags say different things on them and they really talk about real details of what's going on and I guess it's more real when you see it all in front of you like this," said Northland College student Sarah Miranti. Miranti helped set up the luminary and along with other students raised the funds needed to put on the event. "Itís just important to realize that domestic violence can happen to anyone. I used to think it was just other people have to suffer but it's real and it can happen to you too," said Miranti.
On a dark, rainy night, they work to send their message. "Just like our work, we don't give up, we are going to keep on trying until that last bag burns out, we'll be here," said Grande. She does it all to raise awareness, reach out to victims and let them know they are not alone. "Itís really important to me to get the word out there in our community so we can help people who are victims of domestic violence so their names don't end up on one of these bags," said Grande.
New Day Shelter is a nonĖprofit agency serving victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Ashland and Bayfield counties. This was their first luminary and they hope to continue it every year.