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Greetings, everyone, and thank you for being here today. It is so good to see this show of solidarity and support and celebration of our friends and neighbors in recovery.  This is our Bloomington community in action.

Thanks to the Monroe County Commissioners and the Monroe County Opioid Awareness Commission for hosting Paint the Town Purple, along with those who have supported this awareness-raising event:  the Monroe County Health Department, Centerstone, and the Indiana State Department of Health.

Our community, like many across the country, suffers as a result of substance use disorder.  The public health crisis related to opioid and methamphetamine use and affiliated diseases and conditions -- such as HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, depression and suicide -- is one of our nation’s most urgent problems.  Substance use disorder affects every corner of our community, regardless of zip code or income level. Many of us have a friend or family member whose life has been upended or perhaps lost. A sibling. A friend. A child.  A parent. We grieve with each other and we reach out to support each other.

And we know others of us struggle today with substance use disorder or have a loved one who is struggling, who don’t seek out help for all kinds of reasons, including perhaps shame.  Today, all at this gathering want it known that we welcome all wherever we are in our journey, without judgment, with open arms to reduce harm and promote health. 

Together with IU and Centerstone, the City hosted Sam Quinones [keen YON es] at the Buskirk Chumley in May, who shared his research into the origins of our public health crisis. Bloomington and Monroe County are among the more than two thousand plaintiffs across the country -- seeking justice for the devastation of communities against those corporate actors Sam reported on, who contributed so recklessly and mercilessly to the proliferation of substance use disorder.  

We know that beyond substance use disorder, limited access to opportunity, education, health care, jobs, housing all can dim the chance for advancement for many folks.  And that limited access often has roots in systemic barriers and prejudice against people because of race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, ethnic origins, and many other categories. 

Thankfully, Bloomington is full of people and institutions doing the hard work needed on these issues, among them, Amethyst House, Indiana Recovery Alliance, Monroe County CASA, New Leaf New Life, Middle Way House, New Hope for Families, the Shalom Community Center, Wheeler Mission, and The Indiana University Grand Challenge, Responding to the Addictions Crisis. 

I also want to acknowledge the many public safety officials and community-facing departments at the City and in the County, helping to connect those in need with services and resources. And so many mental health and social work professionals and faith-based groups across our community working with individuals and families to address root causes and meet everyday concerns.  

And above all, to all of the families whose lives have been or are touched by substance use disorder, we reach out with an open heart and helping hands.  Today is a day to learn more about services available in our community, to connect with one another for support, and to celebrate successes along the way.

Today, we join with you in making one of those small steps, toward greater awareness of and reduction of stigma about substance use disorder...by painting a mural together on Kirkwood, and by proclaiming, as this document hereby makes official…  [show proclamation]

“September 6, 2019, as Paint the Town Purple Day In Bloomington, Indiana, encouraging the entire community to stand in solidarity with all survivors of substance use disorder, their families, and loved ones.”

 

Thank you.


 

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