April 2021 was a special month for PRAB as this year marked the 6th year of PRAB Goes Teal. In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, PRAB has provided a judge free, educational, safe space for program participants, staff, and community members to share their stories and learn how to bring awareness to this immense issue in our community. The key point of PRAB Goes Teal is to discuss and confront misinformation and equip individuals to tackle this problem.
PRAB Goes Teal began in 2016 at the Harmony Family Success Center in partnership with the Middlesex County Center for Empowerment. Its aim was to bring to light a taboo issue that is not always as openly embraced and supported as other more common causes. The successful event was held on site (pre-covid) and featured a Clothesline project that featured an exhibit called, “What you Were Wearing.” The exhibit was a display of the clothing worn by victims of sexual assault, which sent a message that, from children’s pajamas to military uniforms and everything in between, clothing has no influence on sexual assault.
PRAB Goes Teal 2021 was held virtually (as was the case last year). It was well-attended and delivered powerful and impactful information on sexual assault. It also provided a platform for victims and survivors to share their stories and readings. One of the most important lessons gained from this event is that victims are not defined by what happened and that we are survivors and thrivers in spite of what happened to us. In previous years, the event offered different “stations” that contained teal-themed items in support of the cause (i.e.- teal nail painting station, bracelet making, teal hair extensions, teal ribbons, teal-colored snacks, and raffles, etc.). PRAB has always been proud to be at the forefront of this critical issue. In 2017, we were honored to be asked by Middlesex County to have PRAB Goes Teal to be the “kick-off” of Middlesex County Goes Teal that year.
PRAB Goes Teal 2021 was organized by a knowledgeable planning committee, which included Johnna Crespo, Harmony Family Success Center Site Director; Evelyn Reyes & Eva Vilchez, HFSC Family Partners; Julie Jerome, Coordinator Community Engagement of the ENLACE Senior Project; and Jennifer Kurdyla & Melissa Bada Devers from the Middlesex County Center for Empowerment.