City Hall to Be Lit with Purple Lights; Ceremony to Place 157 Flags for Those Lost to Overdose; Communitywide Call for all to Display Purple

SOMERVILLE – In recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) on August 31 and National Recovery Month in September, advocates and officials in Somerville have united in their call for Somervillians to observe both events in a few simple but powerful ways. From displaying purple lights and ribbons to attending vigils and events, residents can send a message of support and hope for recovery.

Among the activities, a Memorial Gathering and Overdose Awareness Ceremony will be held on Thursday, August 30, at City Hall. Attendees will be given 156 purple flags to place in memory of the 156 Somerville residents lost to overdose since 2000 and one larger flag for all those lost in previous years. On behalf of the community, City Hall will also be lit after the ceremony with purple light and will remain so for the week of Thursday, August 30, to September 5, to remember those lost and to raise awareness that the tragedy of overdose death is preventable. All are invited to join in this message in the following ways:

Help Turn Somerville Purple Thursday, August 30 to September 5:

o Light your home or business with purple lights;

o tie a purple ribbon on your tree, fence, or door;

o make a purple heart to display; or

o get creative and display purple another way.

To recognize that we as a community must pull together to address this public health crisis, please join us in sharing a message of support and hope by displaying purple. Hang a string of lights or swap your porch light out for a purple lightbulb. Leave them up either for Overdose Awareness Day on August 31 or all week (Thurs. 8/30- Wed. 9/5) as City Hall will do. Have a roll of purple ribbon? Share it with your neighbors or nearby businesses too. Have crayons or purple paper? Make a purple heart and place it for others to see.

Change your social media profile photo to one of the images below, or post the image, or tweet with the hashtags #EndOverdose or #OverdoseAware:

o End Overdose image

o Overdose Aware image

o National Recovery Month image

Attend the Recovery Month Proclamation on Thursday, August 23, at 7 p.m.:

With a short speaking program featuring members of the community and elected officials, Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone and the Board of Aldermen will pronounce that the City of Somerville will  observe International Overdose Awareness Day and National Recovery Month. The meeting will be held at the start of the regular Board of Aldermen’s meeting in the Aldermanic Chambers, City Hall.

Attend the Memorial Gathering and Overdose Awareness Ceremony at City Hall on Thursday, August 30, at 5:30 p.m.:

Join Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone, the Board of Aldermen, local champions for recovery, City staff, community members, and others for a ceremony to place purple flags in remembrance of those in Somerville who have lost their lives to overdose, to support those left behind, and to reaffirm our community’s commitment to ending this epidemic. The event will be held outside City Hall. Rain location is the Aldermanic Chambers, 2nd Floor, City Hall.

Attend the statewide vigilMassachusetts State of Awarenesson August 31, at 6 p.m., on Boston Common.

Attend the Somerville Overcoming Addiction Annual Vigil on Wednesday, September 12, at Trum Field from 6 to 9 p.m. and keep in touch with this important group year-round.

Become a Recovery Coach:

If you are interested in learning more about how to support those impacted by addiction, the City’s COHR (Community Outreach, Help & Recovery) program will offer the nationally approved CCAR Recovery Coach Academy in September. To learn more contact Patty Contente, or 617-625-6600 ext. 7281.

Stay aware and involved year-round: Keep reading, stay aware, help those who need them connect with resources, let your elected officials at every level know you expect change, and get involved. The City of Somerville has Narcan and Narcan training available through Health and Human Services year-round. Contact Director of Prevention Matthew Mitchell via 311. The City

is also fortunate to have many grassroots community partners such as Families Anonymous, GRASP (Grief Recovery After a Substance Passing), Learn to Cope, and Somerville Overcoming Addiction available to assist family members. In addition, COHR provides supports regarding prevention as well as access to services, intervention, and recovery.

Share all of the above with others so we are loud and clear in our message of support and hope. And remember, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela.

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