Friday, June 14, 2013

ALSO’s 18th Annual Walk for Peace

This past Saturday, June 8th for the 18th consecutive year, hundreds of people from across Chicago joined with the Alliance of Local Service Organizations (ALSO) to Walk for Peace. The theme of this year’s Walk was "Partners Against Violence in Our Streets, Homes and Schools: Men and Women Working Together," and called for allies, partnerships and power sharing to address violence in all its forms.

This event provided a space to not only give voice to some of the experiences of violence taking place in Chicago but also allowed for opportunities to celebrate good works and continued efforts around safety and peace.  


Dominant media and culture lends itself to the notion of separateness between people, groups, and communities. It is up to us to walk away from this notion. Respectfully acknowledging our commonalities and differences as human beings along with exploring the root causes of violence through a lens of justice, will assist us on this journey. Demonstrating safety in the spaces of violence, partnerships in the wake of separateness, and power sharing in places of oppression will help us all walk towards peace.

Want to learn more about ALSO?: The mission of ALSO ( is to end violence in the homes and streets of communities nationwide. Incorporated in 1998, ALSO was created to coordinate services for youth and families in the Logan Square community on Chicago’s Northwest Side. Becoming aware of the devastating impact of community violence on those families ALSO began to take action by implementing prevention programs to end street violence. In 2007, ALSO expanded its violence prevention and intervention efforts to include intimate partner violence. By working to end violence more broadly, ALSO began to see connections between violence on the streets and violence in the home.

Today, ALSO works both locally and nationally to end violence. By expanding its reach, ALSO informs its national work from a local perspective and brings knowledge and best practices from around the country to our neighborhoods in Chicago.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013



Wordlessness is a salient feature of trauma. Language falls short in the face of atrocities and betrayals. Writers search for metaphors and images to capture the terror and shock. So when I hear a few lucid words, or find them in myself, I want to write them down. Sometimes I write on a napkin, a post-it note, or in desperation I scribble on my hand hoping to transfer the words to paper before my next shower. 

Sunday, I was at The Naomi Ruth Cohen conference on trauma.  In the morning I sat on an uncomfortable chair waiting for the opening address, restlessly reviewing my notes for my afternoon presentation. The speaker was Rabbi Eleanor Smith, a rabbi who in mid-career left the pulpit to go to medical school and become a doctor.  A healer of body and spirit.  I was intrigued and then moved.  I madly scribbled down her words because they were worth remembering.

Here are two quotes from her speech I would like to share.

“Trauma is a thing that happens without permission or invitation, a darkness that slips through the curtain, an intruder that breaches the walls of the self that each of us holds sacred.”

“It (trauma) is the acute state of suffering without haven, the desolate lack of sanctuary in a time of great vulnerability.” 

Thank you Rabbi Eleanor Smith for words that capture the unspeakable.