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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Earl Silverman Center journey

April 30, 2013 Kristina Hansen

As many of you already know, Earl Silverman took his own life on  April 27, 2013. I never knew him personally, but had exchanged e-mails with him asking him for advice on opening a men’s shelter here in Montreal. It was a project that I had been working to get off the ground for quite some time and wanted to get his valuable input and advice since he had opened the only shelter of it’s kind in Canada.

When I received news of his death I felt a burning fire within me that I had never felt before; an urgency to make the shelter I had long contemplated a reality, and to honor his memory along with it.

With his tragic death, the idea for the Earl Silverman Centre, a refuge for abused men, was born. I have embarked on this new journey with my dear friend Murray Pearson and the wonderful members of our Men’s Rights Montreal Meet-up group. Together we have decided to honor Earl in the only way we thought to be truly fitting – by opening a shelter for male victims of domestic violence in Montreal, and to hit the ground running.

As a former social service worker, and someone who continues to work with men on the margins of our society, I have the knowledge and tools necessary to assess potential clients, identify and document their needs, secure local resources as well as provide counseling and community referrals. I can also perform these services with an acute awareness of the biases prejudices these men face as victims in a society that has been taught to regard them, just as Earl was, as perpetrators.

The first step in achieving our goal was to secure seed money to file for non-profit status, set up a temporary office, locate a residential property which will suit the needs of our clients, as well as all the basic essentials to allow us to operate. e.g. office supplies, utilities, phones etc.

As you are aware, even with very discriminating use of money, the expenses are substantial.

We reached out to you, the men’s human rights community, and asked for your support. You answered resoundingly. In less than 3 days we had exceeded our primary goal of raising $5000.00 for the Earl Silverman Center.

It was beyond every expectation Murray Pearson or I could have imagined. Words are inadequate to express how grateful we are. As a community you have proven how caring and generous you are. A thank you seems so small for all you have given, but it will have to suffice for now. Thank you!

Now our journey truly begins, and we want you to be a part of it. We want you to join us in every step we take. We decided the best way to do that is to keep a sort of on-line blog/diary about the Earl Silverman Center and our progress as we go. In it we will be updating you as often as possible on everything we are doing, and we want to encourage you to participate and help us by following us, offering your suggestions, ideas, and support. We want this to be a collaboration with YOU as an important part of the process towards opening the center in Earl’s memory.

This is not just my project, or Murray’s. It is all of the MHRM’s project, and we will need you in order to succeed. We want you all to be a part of it’s success.

With that, I again offer you heartfelt thanks. I welcome each of you as a team member in making Earl Silverman’s dream a reality, and in ensuring that his name becomes symbolic of helping men in need.

Be sure to fasten your seat belts – it’s gonna be one hell of a ride!

The Earl Silverman Center: www.earlsilvermancenter.org

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