Community Conversations on Trauma began September 11

Still Harbor is proud to be partnering with Roxbury Presbyterian Church's Social Impact Center on the Cory Johnson Trauma Education Initiative under the leadership of Rev. Liz Walker. Read more about the project here. Below is a press release from the Social Impact Center about the first community event and the upcoming special segment of "Better Living with Liz Walker" focused on trauma:

On the evening of September 11, 2014 Roxbury Presbyterian Church opened its doors for the first in a series of community gatherings called, “Our Voices, Our Stories,” offering a safe space for people to gather to share their reflections and stories of trauma, loss, healing, and transformation. More than 100 people came. A simple dinner, welcoming remarks by RPC Pastor Liz Walker, and a saxophone soloist set the tone, then one after another unburdened their hearts of stories too painful to share in ordinary conversation.  A common theme of feeling at home among others who know the indelible impact of profound loss and violence emerged, along with the healing power of supportive community.  “Our Voices, Our Stories” will continue on October 16th and November 13th to open a space for relationship and meaning-making through storytelling and provide connections to mental health resources and supports.

Trauma is defined as any event or experience that produces persistent feelings of horror, fear, or grief. While we tend to think of trauma in terms of the September 11 terrorist attack or war, in fact it can be the result of far more common experiences that come from simply living in the city. In a community where violence is too often the norm, trauma can be lasting and pervasive, affecting not only the individual victim but the community as a whole.

The monthly “Our Voices, Our Stories” conversations, part of the Cory Johnson Trauma  Education Initiative* are hosted by local community members who have gone through a tailored training program to be equipped with the facilitation, accompaniment, and leadership skills needed to provide support to those who participate in the events.  These community members will also be available to serve as ongoing companions, meeting individually with people, to offer presence, connection, and a listening ear for those who may need it.

In addition on September 30th, a special segment of “Better Living with Liz Walker,” focused on trauma will air on WCVB TV. Roxbury Presbyterian Church will host a community event at 6 pm on the 30th to watch the segment, followed by commentary and discussion with Rev. Liz Walker and other trauma specialists. 

The Cory Johnson Trauma Education Initiative was created by the Roxbury Presbyterian Church Social Impact Center in collaboration with Still Harbor. Funded by Partners Healthcare, the initiative’s long term goal is to build community capacity by empowering residents and developing specific trauma treatment programs to serve all of the community including adults, youth, front line care givers, teachers, clergy, social workers and youth workers.

According to one of the coordinators of the program RPC pastor Reverend Liz Walker, “Trauma affects nearly everyone in our community.  “Our Voices, Our Stories” will serve to point the entire community toward paths of healing.”

We will post the video segment of "Better Living with Liz Walker" as soon as it's available.

For more information, please contact:

  • Nancy Kilburn, Roxbury Presbyterian Church Social Impact Center, 617-445-6262
  • Charles Howes, Still Harbor, 617-360-8668

* Cory Johnson, a member of Roxbury Presbyterian Church was murdered not far from his home May 30, 2010.  He was 27 years old. No one has been arrested in connection with his death.  His mother Debra has volunteered to be one of the community companions for these conversations. 

Still HarborComment