Kara Nelson reads the names of those lost to addiction while Chloe Abbott, Rocky Stiers, and Jose Delgado hold candles in remembrance.
On Wednesday, January 10th, Juneau residents gathered at the Northern Lights United Church to take part in a statewide candlelight vigil for those who have died of addiction related illnesses.
On a cold Wednesday night on January 10th, Juneau residents gathered at the Northern Lights United Church downtown. The event was part of a statewide recognition of those who died of addiction related illnesses. Attendees were asked to light a candle in remembrance of those loved ones lost, and Pastor Phil Campbell and Kara Nelson offered words of pain and hope so that more would not succumb to such an unfortunate end.
Audience members were encouraged to bring their own list of names to read, and also to share their struggle in order to find support within the community. By speaking about addiction and facing the issue head on with discourse, empathy, and love, the speakers hoped to break the stigma around this illness in order to better help and understand those who are affected.
The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services report that 121 people died in 2015 of drug overdoses, and another 128 died in the following year. All people struggling with addiction related illnesses are implored to seek support from The Front Street Clinic and Rainforest Recovery Center, and well as having an open dialogue with their families and loved ones.
The entire event was recorded so that people who need help can find hope.