UPDATE: As of August 5, 2013, we reached $5,000 raised for Martha’s Day!
The following is a guest post from Laura Morrison, the inspired leader of Martha’s Day…In early June, I got an itch to celebrate my mother’s upcoming 60th birthday. Originally, I thought I’d write a simple letter to friends, family and colleagues, encouraging them to donate to Compass Center to honor my mother’s birthday and her life. However, when I shared my plan with Vimala Rajendran (owner of Vimala’s Curryblossom Café), something beautiful happened. We dreamt up Martha’s Day.
During our initial, hour-long conversation, Vimala and I whipped up a rough event plan, and she even nailed down a band to perform at the event. Within days, Compass Center staff jumped on board, support from the business community poured in, and Martha’s Day was up and running.
The effortlessness of planning Martha’s Day was an early indicator of the generosity of our community, and the actual event was a testament to the ability we have to come together and make a powerful difference in our community.
In only a month, we united behind Compass Center and raised nearly $5,000 to bolster the services the Center provides women, men and children facing domestic violence. And we did it all in the name of my mother, Martha.
Martha’s Day was transformational. When we suffer tragedy, it’s easy to get lost in grief. Martha’s Day was my chance to climb out of my grief and publicly celebrate my mother – her strengths, and her weaknesses. I was honored to share her story in the hopes of helping others survive what she did not – domestic violence. Martha’s Day helped me turn my mother’s tragedy into beauty.
The event reminded me how beautiful the power of community is. Martha’s Day would not have happened had Vimala not been excited about hosting an event, had A Better Image not sponsored our invitations, had DSI Comedy not sponsored our raffle, had the MahaloJazz 3 not graciously performed for us, and had Compass Center staff and volunteers – as well as my friends and family – not dedicated their time to volunteer at the event. It was only after those pieces fell into place that we were able to come together and raise significant funds for Compass Center.
I was blown away by the number of people who stopped by Martha’s Day to show their support and donate to Compass Center (and even more blown away that some of my mother’s childhood friends attended!). And I was definitely encouraged to overhear conversations throughout the dinner about ending domestic violence.
Martha’s Day was certainly about raising money for Compass Center and supporting an organization that is doing amazing work in our community. But my greater aim in organizing Martha’s Day was to pull our entire community into an open and honest dialogue about domestic violence. In that regard, I can say without hesitation Martha’s Day was a success.
At the event, I challenged attendees to ask themselves a few questions:
- What role can we play in ending domestic violence?
- How can we support and empower victims?
- How can we love and rehabilitate abusers?
- What can we do to educate our kids about this type of violence
- How can we lend a hand in breaking cycles of abuse?
I don’t have the answers to those questions. They are big, heavy questions. Domestic violence is a problem, and when you’ve been personally touched by it, the problem feels huge and unbeatable and overwhelming. But as I looked around at the many folks who attended Martha’s Day, I saw my friends, coworkers, family and strangers, and I was reminded that no matter how big a problem is, if we work together, we can defeat it.
Martha’s Day was a step in the right direction. Now it’s up to us to continue our community conversation on domestic violence and plow forward toward ending that violence.
For photos from the event, click here.