The “Somebody Else” Is Us

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Dear friends and neighbors,

We stand with black, brown, and indigenous people and we remember and honor the lives stolen as a result of widespread racism and systemic oppression: Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, George Floyd, and countless others. We have heard the cries of our kin of color. There can be no peace without justice.

In the early seventies, a group of domestic violence survivors and allies gathered in Maine. They recognized that somebody ought to do something to help support survivors and hold perpetrators of violence accountable. They concluded that the “somebody else” was them and this is the story of how the domestic violence movement in Maine was founded. The “somebody else” was us and today the “somebody “else” IS us. We all have a responsibility to call out inequalities and injustices. We cannot stand idly by as people who are meant to protect us commit heinous acts of violence with impunity. No more.

Last week, our staff came together to reflect on the world around us. We shared feelings of anger, devastation, and heart break. One staff person shared, “I feel like I am standing on one hill and I have friends and family and people I love standing on the opposite hill and the valley between us feels too deep to cross.” Another expressed, “I feel like I am not doing enough and I know I have a responsibility to do more. What do I need to be doing?”

We are listening and we are learning from the black, brown and indigenous leaders in our state and in our country. And as June is Pride Month, we are listening and learning from LGBTQ+ leaders who are teaching us to lead with love. We must be brave and we must work together to dismantle ALL forms of oppression.

So, who is the “somebody” who will stand up against racism, homophobia, transphobia, and injustice in all its forms? The “somebody else” is us. We challenge other individuals, service providers, and community organizations to hear the cries of our oppressed neighbors and friends and join us in our efforts to create meaningful systemic changes. Are YOU that somebody?

In love and in peace,

Amanda Cost

Facilitative Director