“A Night of Hope and Healing” is scheduled Wednesday evening in Juneau.
The community gathering is sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Community services coordinator Lindsay Kato says a recent boating tragedy that claimed the life of two brothers, the accidental death of the survivor, and other incidents in Juneau prompted discussion of a community gathering even before the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut.
“We had talked about it a little before the shooting, but after the shooting it was really apparent that people want and need some place to come together and support each other in hope and healing,” she says.
She stresses community connectedness, and says towns generally come together – but in different ways – after tragedy. She calls the event a safe and healthy way to connect with others.
“I guess in my head it’s hug your neighbor.”
Kato says it is not a religious event, though various church and Alaska Native leaders will participate.
“The fact that we’ve got all of these people from different sides of the community coming together is the message of support we’re wanting to send,” she says.
Kato says parents should bring their children, who often portray hopefulness in times of tragedy and grief.
“A lot of times with children around they bring this sense of innocence and hopefulness that’s really encouraging. And to have them there I think it would be very important,” she says. “And I wouldn’t expect people to come without their families, because family support is a big deal in you hope and healing.”
A Night of Hope and Healing is from 6 to 8 p.m. at Northern Light United Church, at 400 West 11th Street.