9th Annual Homelessness Summer Solstice Vigil takes place on Tuesday

Every so often I receive press releases from various groups in my email inbox. I’m not always sure how or why I’m included in most of the email lists, and I almost always ignore them.

However, this evening I received a release from a an advocacy group that’s near and dear to my heart, The Homeless Voices for Justice (HVJ).

I’ve been acquainted with the HVJ for several years now, and I’ve always supported and believed in their mission and purpose.

Last year, while working for Amistad Peer Support and Recovery Center, I participated in their annual summer solstice vigil with several Amistad members and many more who had shown up on their own or with other groups.

We sat in the sun or the shade, ate doughnut holes and drank coffee, and shared stories of hope, recovery, and survival. It was a truly incredible experience and I urge anyone with even a passing interest to stop by.

Here’s the press release:

On Tuesday, June 21, Homeless Voices for Justice will sit out in Tommy’s Park, on the corner of Middle and Exchange streets, from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. for their 9th Annual Homelessness Summer Solstice Vigil.

Homeless Voices for Justice advocates will be joined by other organizations and community members, “sitting out” to show support for those who experience homelessness, to highlight the causes and circumstances of homelessness, and to discuss what needs to be done to end homelessness.

Anyone interested in participating in the sit-out is welcome to join for five minutes, an hour, or the whole day.

Homelessness increases during the summer, and is just as deadly in the warmer months as it is in the winter. Following the national trend, Maine also sees an increase in violence against those who are homeless during the summer months. Hunger and homelessness continue to increase, with soup kitchens and food pantries serving record numbers and shelters overflowing every night.

About Homeless Voices for Justice:

Preble Street Homeless Voices for Justice (HVJ) is a grassroots group that works for social change on behalf of people who struggle with homelessness and poverty. HVJ is led by a board of people who have all experienced homelessness and is supported by Preble Street staff.

The founding chapter in Portland has existed since 1995, with other chapters started in Alfred/York County, Augusta, Brunswick and Lewiston. Our goal is to build a coalition for and of homeless people throughout Maine, and to empower people whose first-hand perspective has often been absent in the development of policies and programs that impact their social and economic well-being.