Shattered Silences: The Epiphany of Unbearable Truths

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All along my life’s journey, there have been moments of profound impact that gave me pause to reflect on my story. And by story, I’m talking about the roads I’ve walked along and the people who either journeyed with me or forced me to take detours that forever changed my direction. Some of the parts of my story are happy while others are not – these are my truths. Every guidepost along the way had a lesson to teach and sometimes moments of epiphany happen that strike deep into your soul. It’s visceral and raw.

Every one has a story, and those whose journey was met by people who devalued their worth and robbed them of their innocence have unbearable truths.   I had one of those guidepost moments in my own story recently at a public gathering of people who have been impacted by the heinous crime of sexual assault. Although I am not a victim, I had an epiphany moment that reignited my sense of morality and sparked a need to support and lend a voice to those drowned by silence. I listened to many victims and survivors tell their story. Their courage in shattering their silences to share their unbearable truths was all at once sobering and inspiring.

While each speaker had their own events to detail, there was a single, unifying thread that taught me a big lesson: People suffer in this world not only because of the violence of bad people, but because of the silence of good people. Speaking out against injustices is not only a civic duty, but a moral imperative that protects the divinity of ourselves.

The path to justice is often a broken road not easily navigated but the hurdles and obstructions encountered along the way can and must be set aside to allow due process to ensue unfettered. That said, there is an important opportunity for us all to show unity and advocate for the victims – especially for those who have yet to shatter their own silences and realize the epiphany of their truths.  Neutrality helps the oppressor and not the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor and not the tormented. Injustices do not right themselves. It takes brave testimony followed by bold actions to let healing take place. My epiphany of these unbearable truths has opened my heart and mind to what’s possible when like-minded, compassionate and fearless people rally for a just cause.

I urge everyone to look back on their story and remember that perhaps the most important chapters are yet unwritten. There is still time to do the right thing and stand up for victims and survivors of sexual assault. Your epiphany moment is waiting for you and your call to action is now.

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Native Sons and Daughters All – Surviving the Storm

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I am a native son. My ancestors came to this continent in 1642. They worked in the great forests, they fished in abundant waters, and they reaped bountiful harvests sewn with their own hands. They came to Biddeford to build homesteads, learn trades, and grow enormous families. They opened up small businesses, taught school, and toiled tirelessly weaving at looms in the local mills. My ancestors are a part of the rich tapestry that tells the story of a great city that has endured both good times and bad.

While some might say that I come from good stock, I would say that I am the product of a caring and tightly-knit community who gave me opportunities as gifts beyond measure. The thread of my life is being woven into this tapestry that is a continual work-in-progress. I am a native son, and I am Biddeford.

At its best, my city was a beacon of hope to unassuming folk seeking only fair opportunity in a place built upon the backs of resolute immigrants who left indelible marks upon the surf, working fields and the banks of a mighty river. The rise of an industry paired with the stubborn perseverance of a faithful people gave way to the inception of an American Dream.  Small town ideals formed the rule of a society where the safety and security of its people was sacred and irrefutable. Words like family, neighborhood and community were interlaced into the fabric and narrative of daily life. Even when times got hard, an unwavering faith and a belief in our identity carried us through adversity. At the end of the day, we were all a part of a proud city called Biddeford and that meant something.

At its worst, my city has endured scandal and controversy paved into mean streets for victims, cynics and downtrodden souls who clung to the sanctity of trust until they could no longer. Sometimes even the best communities can be torn asunder when dignities are robbed and innocence is lost. In turmoil, people question everything, friendships are tested and faiths fall. Those are the dark days that can fragment a city. Reclamation is a long road and recovery is an arduous feat, but there is a lesson in the legacy of all those who came before us – to persevere. Anyone can give up. It’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But when you find it within yourself to keep everything together when the world expects you to fall apart – that’s true strength. We are still a city called Biddeford and that still means something.

Some of the best life lessons come from when we’ve been underestimated and deemed not good enough. Every doubt cast upon our abilities, every unfounded assumption that we’d never go far, and every knock taken on the chin becomes the fuel that feeds the fire within us to grow beyond the boundaries of accepted conventions. We are survivors. The legacy of our ancestors taught us to fear neither gauntlets thrown nor oppositions mounted. The road behind us is littered with the empty shells of those who misjudged us, while the road ahead calls us to undiscovered frontiers. This makes us as limitless. We are native sons and daughters all and We are Biddeford.

If this message resonates with you, if you share in the belief that we are resilient and are stronger than the trials before us – pass this on. Share it with kindred friends and family. Share it with those who are facing daunting battles that are crushing their lives so that they can be reminded that they need not fight alone. Our heritage and our histories as devout and earnest people define us. We have the power to endure the darkness and heal together.

“There exist limitless opportunities in each of us. Where there is an open mind, there will always be a frontier.” -Charles Kettering