Story Gathering Events

Sodina is a project within The Avielle Foundation with the goals to build awareness, empathy, and compassion that lead to social change, increased public safety and grassroots political pressure grounded in community activism with far reaching collective impact.

We are keenly aware that the majority of violent deaths whether at the hand of another or self-inflicted, go largely unnoticed by the American public. Sodina is working to change this by honoring these lives through telling their stories and sharing the impact to the family and friends surrounding them – both the tragedy and the triumphs. Our hope is that through greater awareness and compassion, people will be moved to action to prevent further violent deaths. We are asking for your participation.

Sodina is working to coordinate and join with community leaders in towns and cities across the country to create events or support and partner within existing programming where victim’s families can share the story of their loved one and the impact their loss has had on family and friends. Depending on the location, and availability of resources, we hope to be able to offer with your permission and partnership a direct entry of stories to the Sodina website as well as potentially videotaping and audio recording for either transcription to the Sodina website and/or publication in video or audio format through the Sodina website or social media applications.

We can consider multiple approaches to these gatherings, and we welcome creative, culturally responsive and reflective ways of sharing stories. They can be stand-alone events at a central community location or the gathering of stories can be an activity at the end of another event such as a peace, anti-violence or injury/suicide prevention walk, etc. We are also aware that revisiting loss can sometimes activate painful feelings, and our aim is to create safe spaces for reflection and healing at the pace and personal wishes of all who participate.

However the event is designed, it can be a powerful community experience of healing and honoring the lives of loved ones lost to violence whether self-inflicted or at the hand of another.

Sodina is actively seeking community leaders to partner with to coordinate an event. If you or someone you know is interested in working with us on an event, please contact us at [email protected],

Lend your voice. While certain acts of violence are highly sensationalized (e.g. Sandy Hook, Columbine, Aurora, Virginia Tech, Charlestown, Umpqua), the vast majority of victims of all types of violence go unrecognized. This leaves many of the families of these victims feeling marginalized, as if some lives are valued more than others are. This should certainly never be the case, and we hope to be a vehicle through which families can share their stories. This will allow the families to pay honor to their loved ones, keeping their spirits alive. Additionally, this will help to facilitate support for the family and, most importantly, begin the healing process.

Share your story. The statistics on violence are sobering. Particularly surprising and often under-recognized are the number of suicides and the epidemic levels of urban violence that go virtually unreported. What is worrisome is that after a while statistics begin to blur and lose their impact and meaning. Ultimately, the human connection is lost as we become desensitized. However, we can restore this connection by keeping these stories alive. The most impactful approach to maintain human connection is to put a face not only on the victims of violence, but on their surviving family and friends as well. These vetted stories will provide both a qualitative and quantitative snapshot of violence in America.

 Create the Change. Through the Sodina website, blog, and social media channels, we are asking for your help to engage and inspire people to collaborate, share, listen, and to connect more intentionally and freely with each other. We’ll do this through stories, ideas, and challenging the status quo. The intent is to encourage people to get their family and friends, and even themselves, to share their stories of a loved one lost to violence in the hopes of building empathy and compassion towards others. As these stories and ideas are shared, a constellation of healing and learning is cultivated within and between communities. People will realize the stories they are reading or hearing could be their own or those of someone close to them, and move them to take action.

As people become more aware of the scale, scope, and proximity of violence, and are moved by the impact of violent deaths in our country, they may ask, “what can I do?” Here we have an outlet for individuals and communities to engage and get involved. We will help people to advocate for brain health science and the study of the underpinnings of violence; to advocate for responsible gun ownership and safety; to understand self-injury and suicide prevention; to understand and to engage in the legislative process at a local or state level; or to build stronger communities by curbing bullying or promoting restorative justice.

Please contact us at [email protected] if you have an interest in collaborating on a story gathering event.