[Press Release] Annual Memorial Candlelight Vigil for Individuals Experiencing Homelessness in the Upper Valley
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Spencer Sanders, (802) 478-1806 or
Upper Valley Memorial Candlelight Vigil for People Experiencing Homelessness
Area social service agencies co-sponsor an event to commemorate Vermont and New Hampshire residents who passed away while experiencing homelessness in 2023.
White River Junction, VT – The 2023 annual Memorial Candlelight Vigil to honor the people who died this year and have experienced homelessness will be held the evening of Thursday, December 21st at 5:30pm. This vigil is a time to reflect on the trauma and mortal risk that comes with being unhoused. The ceremony will include a reading of names and a tribute to their lives, followed by a procession across Bridge St. to New Hampshire. In addition, some advocates and service providers will camp outside tonight in solidarity with people who are unhoused.
This important day is not only a reminder of the lives who have passed, but also an appeal for change. For many of the names called, it will be the only remembrance they receive.
This national event began in 1990 to bring awareness to the predicament of the country’s individuals who are experiencing homelessness. It is memorialized every year on the winter solstice, the longest night of the year, to encourage the public to advocate for policy change on the behalf of the lives lost and those who are currently unhoused. Throughout COVID, vigils were planned separately in New Hampshire and Vermont, some which were held on zoom. This year, advocates in Lebanon and Hartford recognized the importance of standing in solidarity with one another and have decided to join separate vigils to one unified Upper Valley event.
Michael Redmond, Executive Director of the Haven added, “The solutions to homelessness are out there. It is not more shelters, though they help save lives. We need more permanent, affordable housing with service supports. It is the hope of the Haven and the other sponsors of this event that this honor provides those in attendance and the wider community the chance to reflect on the plight and trauma that being unhoused inflicts on individuals, families, and communities and how we can end it.”
Angela Zhang, Listen’s Programs Director shared, “The sponsors of the vigil invite anyone to find us camping outside for the night after the vigil ends. We will spend the night outside to raise visibility for whom this is their daily experience. Please note, this is not a simulation but rather an act of solidarity for those facing homelessness.”
All are welcome- neighbors, community partners, friends, people who are unhoused and local officials to come out on December 21st to join them in this moment of remembrance.
Participants in the vigil will gather at the LISTEN Center at 42 Maple St., White River Junction, VT on Thursday, December 21st at 5:30 pm. The hosts invite all guests to bring donations of warm winter clothing items to be distributed to their homeless neighbors this season. The public is invited to participate.