August 14, 2017
Some of you may have seen my post on Facebook that accompanied this picture of a candle with our logo as the flame. I asked our incredible resident graphic art designer/Operations Manager, Carlos Quesada, to create this and, as usual, got more than I imagined – it is beautiful and incredibly poignant. You see, the events in Charlottesville, VA over this past weekend haunt me. I have dedicated my entire vocational career to serving in the non-profit “space” so the concepts of exclusion, violence, destruction, and chaos do not compute in my vision of community. As a result, I searched for something to reflect my feelings and inspired sense of purpose and passion. During a candlelight vigil I attended, my eyes caught the soft, gentle, peaceful flames that night and I thought that they are the perfect image to counter the horrific feelings that torches (yes, even tiki-torches) can engender. And I further reflected that it is not an accident that the Foundation’s logo is the flame of a candle. . . . .
From my post, “Flame of Hope – that is how I interpret our logo . . . and it means that and so much more. But today, on behalf of the Foundation, I share it in support of those fighting against the horrific actions that took place over the weekend; and in honor and memory of Heather Heyer. To me, this is not about politics, but rather human kindness; it’s about love defeating hate; it’s about truth and inclusion. I offer this flame as our commitment and message of solidarity and strength in our ongoing fight against discrimination, exclusion and bullying. We are resolute in our mission to improve the lives of those living with epilepsy and, by direct extension, our community as a whole. Our flame will never be extinguished. . . .”
The events of this past weekend are beyond deeply troubling and I know that many are looking for ways to take action and to make a difference. And I offer that simply speaking up, letting others know that you, too, will not tolerate hatred in your community is the most powerful tool that we all share. You see, there are more of “us” than there are of “them.. . . ” Initial reports indicated that over 775 candlelight vigils/peace rallies were held in reaction to #Charlottesville (compared to the 500-700 rally-attendees) and that more are planned in the coming days/weeks. The point is that in our community, more of us share the same vision of community, care, support, love, and kindness than those bearing the evil flags and symbols representing some of history’s most destructive chapters . . . Let’s keep standing up so they are hidden by our shadows: let’s keep singing loud & proud to drown out their voices!!
And as we do, know that we here at the Foundation are deeply dedicated to the creation of a community in which everyone can live in comfort, safety and peace.
Jody Eaton Iorns
Executive Director, Epilepsy Foundation of Northern California