Tuesday, January 15, 2008

This is Not A Joke

back of the card

front of the card

So, What Do You Think?

This postcard actually came to us during the holidays from the Domestic Violence Center. Now, we are a bold organization and are not afraid to get in the face of the power establishment in the community, but I would never send this out. It is one thing to call attention to your issues, but to step on the Christian high holy season seems overly confrontational. People don't want to be brought down to reality during the holiday season. They want to focus on family, friends, presents, snow, Santa, etc--not family violence issues. Then that little "Peace on Earth" next to the picture is an additional jab at the holiday.

I have to applaud the DVC for their strong stand, and their forcing reality into Christmas. I wonder if they received any complaints. I wonder what others think? This is not a fake card from a cast member of Saturday Night Live. This is real, and pretty stark representation to get during the holidays. We put all the Christmas/Holiday cards up on the door of the office at NEOCH. We decided not to post this one.

Brian
Posts by Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless staff and Board.

10 comments:

linda said...

Actually, this was not DVC's Christmas card. DVC sent out "normal" Christmas cards to many people. This was the annual appeal, like every non-profit sends out to the community. And the response has been very positive. Most people knew it was our appeal and said it was a powerful way to remind them that the holidays are not happy for everyone - and it moved them to give to DVC to help victims of domestic violence - so that their contribution could help bring "peace" to the lives of those who do not experience peace every day. I think the appeal tapped upon the spirit of giving - which is very Christ-like and in the true spirit of Christmas.
Linda Johanek
DVC Development Director

Anonymous said...

My thougths exactly. Perhaps the Coalition should take some lessons from the DVC Development Director and improve their ability to raise awareness and funds. NEOCH has continuously faced funding challenges. It may prove beneficial to implement communication campaigns, which ultimately raise funds and in turn increase resources available to serve constituents. Homeless people may welcome more time being able to be spent on advocating versus constantly making pleas to foundations for funding. When does advocating for a cause take a break for the holidays?

Clevehomeless said...

Anonymous you are a little sensitive here. Calm down. I was not criticizing DVC for sending this out. In fact, as I said, I am amazed that they were so bold to put the issue in people's faces during the holidays. More power to them for pushing the envelope. I was just saying I personally would never do this card, because there is a big danger that it can be misinterpreted. Some people I showed it to thought it was a joke others said that they were offended. Bottom line people who saw it talked about it and that has to be good for DVC. Maybe going forward we will start hearing a clear loud voice from the Domestic Violence Center for a comprehensive strategy to end homelessness associated with family violence.
Brian

T. Tot said...

You may have applauded the DVC at the end of your message, but you also suggested that this is not the message to be sent during the holiday seaon. If only every family had a Christmas season full of family, friends, presents and snow. That statement was a bit naive.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could put domestic violence on "hold" during the holiday season. Why wouldn't you send this out? Are you afraid to bring truth to the reality that the homeless you advocate for live every single day? This appeal card is uncomfortable to see and it should be. While you and I enjoyed our egg nog this past holiday season, others lives were in complete terror. I think it is a shame to suggest that this card was overly confrontational..especiallly coming from someone that works in the face of homelssness.

Clevehomeless said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clevehomeless said...

As I have said two times now, the danger of misinterpretation is great with this card. I never suggested that violence takes a holiday. I am not saying even that it was a bad idea. I am saying that I would have never sent it out, and I doubt my Board would have approved sending this out. I certainly would have put some of the excellent comments mentioned here on the back of the card ("We know that the image on the front is painful during the holiday season...") No one needs to tell staff or board of the Coalition about the plight of homeless people in December. After all, we mark the season by remembering those who died because of homelessness every year on December 21. We do not deny that the statement was not "powerful" or "truthful," but there must be some recognition of the problems associated with this card.

I have a relative who every year gets extremely depressed during the holidays. Because her Christmas is never like the movies or the image that we all have for the "perfect" holiday season, she is always down in Dec/Jan. This card was not helpful for a large number of people, like her, who hate December already. There are many injustices that do not take a holiday ever (torture, senior abuse, child abuse), but do we as a society need to see a stark reminder of those? My point was that sometimes you go so far to get your point across that you cross the line into parody and the point is lost. I fear that this was one of those times.

Brian

what is going on here with NEOCH said...

In the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day...I think it takes going far...going to the limit, putting injustice and sadness in the face of the millions and milions that are so fortunate to not be in situations like domestic violence. And I do not think the card went too far. Most women in domestic violence situations are forced to put on a smile and pretend they are happy. This card simply showed a family with the mother having a black eye. I thought it got right to the point!

I think you should take another look at the card...I give my utmost congratulations to the Domestic Violence Center for being bold and not afraid to speak for those that have no voice!!
You and your board can continue to placate such issues while places like Domestic Violence Center will be true advcoates for social change.

Clevehomeless said...

Why so critical of NEOCH? We are on the same page here. A Christmas fund raising post card is not something to get so upset about. It is ironic that those who want us to be bolder, out front and in people's face are the same people who want to have their identity remain anonymous. "You should go and be bold, but let me remain in the background and throw stones from my safe hideout."

Brian

Elizabeth said...

As a community social worker and domestic violence advocate, I am saddened to read that your organization would not display the DVC's annual appeal--even though you applaud their efforts...?

Of course, this picture is uncomfortable. Domestic violence and homelessness are often hidden from mainstream society, unless you enter a shelter or work closely with one of these individuals. It is our duty as advocates to spread awareness...even if it might make certain individuals uncomfortable.

Last year, you came to my policy class at CSU and stated that more than anything else, NEOCH is an advocacy center that strives to let the voices of homeless persons be heard. Throughout your blogs, I only read your voice and criticism.

I also applaud the DVC for their strong stance on family and relationship violence. The DVC is an amazing agency that not only serves as a true advocate for it's clients, but provides valuable services to chilren and families.

Elizabeth Gump
MSW Student

debbie riddle, community activist said...

unfortunately, domestic violence never takes a break or a holiday. and is was absolutely right of the DVC to get in the face during the Christian high holy season. i witnessed first hand how domestic violence and stalking takes a toll on someone, even during the holidays. the holidays are not snow, Santa, cookies and loved ones for everyone and we need to call attention to those who may need the most during the holiday season. Reread the card, it asks for "Peace on Earth. Please." Help stop domestic violence because not everyone is a happy as they appear to be. Believe me Brian, I wish i had a choice of when my sister was murdered by an ex-boyfriend, but because as a society we don't take domestic violence serious enough, he ruined our holidays and killed her just two weeks after christmas. Hang the card up in your office to remind yourself we can all do our part to bring peace to this world.