Friday, May 20, 2011

A Movement of our generation

The class on the Catholic Workers Movement kept reminding me of a movement that I am actively involved in currently. It is a movement of love through the non-profit organization To Write Love On Her Arms. I call it a movement because, that is what they call it, and one of their slogans is "Live is the Movement." They are group working to help individuals suffering from depression, addiction, suicidal ideation, self-mutilation and other mental health issues to get the treatment they need, and to also know that no one is in the fight alone. They spread a message of hope, and also bring a sense of community to people who often feel that they don't fit in anywhere else.

"You were created to love and be loved. You were meant to live life in relationship with other people, to know and be known. You need to know that your story is important and that you're part of a bigger story. You need to know that your life matters
." --TWLOHA official website

This movement started with a group of people working to help their friend get into treatment, and help her realize her story has common themes with many others. This occurred in Spring 2006, and I've been active with the group since August 2006. The group began selling t-shirts with the saying "To Write Love On Her Arms" to help raise money for their friend, Renee's, treatment. The first shirt to be worn publicly was worn on stage by Jon Foreman, the lead singer of Switchfoot. The movement erupted, and the word was quickly spread through Myspace, and then later through Facebook. I think that's what makes our generations movement different than any other generations. We have found a way to include everyone across the globe, social networking and the internet allow us to support those we may never have the chance to meet. It is common to see people write on their page cries of help saying anything from they just need a friend, to a detailed suicide plan often asking for someone to intervene before they reach the point of action. I personally have reached out and responded to several of these types of posts, and its amazing how just befriending someone and letting them cry to you online can impact their life.

They actively work to bring hope to people by posting inspirational blogs and quotes, speaking at concerts, schools, and holding events. They almost single-handedly stopped the government from changing laws involving the National Suicide Hotline, the new laws would have made the calls no longer confidential and required I.D. verification of all callers, which in turn would stop a lot of people from calling. They also have began UChapters on College Campuses to provide education about mental health and life problems and how to support each other (I think Westminster needs a UChapter.)

To Write Love On Her Arms also has their own way of keeping the long memory alive through their work. Often they post about historical events, or about historic figures lives and how they impact us or show that others have gotten through what many are feeling today. I also felt that their work relates to this class because the often talk about sharing our stories, and using music to do so. They love delivering their messages at concerts, because they know people will feel a stronger connection to the message there. They post a lot of songs that talk about difficulties and how they are over come. Though no one on their staff is a "musician" they share the music of others with the world so everyone can get the messages and gain hope.

To find out more or get involved, please visit:

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