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  Four Maine communities will shine purple for Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Ellsworth—With support from hundreds of individuals and businesses committed to ending domestic abuse, Next Step Domestic Violence Project will hold tree-lighting ceremonies simultaneously in Calais, Machias, Ellsworth, and Deer Isle/Stonington on October 3. The lights represent the approximately 1,000 people who have used Next Step services over the past year. The tree will stay lit each night for the month of October, which is national Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

“We began the Shine a Light campaign a year ago to shed light on the prevalence of domestic violence; to honor victims and survivors; and to let abusers know that the damage they do is seen and not condoned,” says Next Step’s Executive Director, Dorathy Martel. “We reached out to people throughout Hancock and Washington Counties to ask them to demonstrate their support by sponsoring lights. We had hoped for sponsors for 1,000 lights, and the response was so enthusiastic that we have nearly doubled that goal.”

Next Step will continue its Shine a Light awareness efforts in future years. “Our new goal is to someday have every community we serve have a tree demonstrating that domestic violence will not be tolerated,” Martel says.

The tree lightings ceremonies will begin at 5:30 at each location—Knowlton Park in Ellsworth, Machias Chamber of Commerce, the Gazebo in Calais Memorial Park, and Chase Emerson Memorial Library in Deer Isle/Stonington. All are welcome. For more information, please contact Kelly Brown, 207-255-4934 or [email protected].

To sponsor a light, please visit the Shine a Light webpage,

The Machias and Calais lightings will also be holding an awareness walk at 5:00pm. In Machias the walk will begin at the entrance of UMM and end at the Machias Chamber of Commerce. In Calais the walk will begin at 21 Calais Avenue and end at the Memorial Park Gazebo. Bring your own posters or borrow one of ours!

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