PALMER — The Glenn Massay Theater bustled with activity Wednesday evening as dozens of locals of all ages took to the stage, sharing their talents, their experiences, and their solutions to say “no more” to domestic violence and sexual assault.
No More Mat-Su is a local chapter of the national program, “No More,” a campaign aiming to end domestic violence and sexual assault.
The annual Rock the Resilience event is a grassroots collaboration between various nonprofits, businesses, schools and other groups across the community. The theme for this year’s event was “respect” and that was expressed in a variety of ways.
Numerous speakers from the community shared their insight on the topic while groups such as the Teeland Middle School jazz band performed Aretha Franklin’s signature song, “Respect.”
Overall attendance has grown over the years and so have the numbers of participating schools. This was the first time Wasilla High School’s band participated, according to band director Jackie Johnson.
“They’re doing a wonderful job,” Johnson said.
Johnson said one of the most important and exciting aspects of Rock the Resilience is the fact that a majority of it is not just focused on youth, but led by youth. It was a chance for various youth voices to be heard and show the adults aren’t the only ones working on solutions.
“A lot of kids are putting this together. A lot of it’s by them. It’s a really nice thing,” Johnson said. “There’s a lot of young talent under one roof for something so positive.”
Numerous groups like Colony High School’s Slice of Pie were created by the students who take on leadership roles to keep the group going, coordinating with community events like Rock the Resilience. Slice of Pie and the school’s choir both performed at the Massey.
“It’s one of my favorite events in the community. It involves all the schools and raises awareness for this plague,” Colony High music teacher and band director Jamin Burton said.
One in two women in the Mat-Su Valley will experience domestic violence and/or sexual assault, according to No More Mat-Su.
They hosted this year’s event with 203 Kombucha and the local service club that helped make this event a reality. The goal for this event is the same as No More’s mission, to turn the tide against the staggering statistics of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Burton said that ultimately, it’s up to the next generation to break the cycle once and for all.
“The young people are going to have to be the ones to change this,” Burton said.
Dozens of high school and middle school students showcased their talents through visual art, music, poetry and dance to show what real respect means and how to break the cycle of toxic relationships.
From art galleries in the lobby to emotional solos on stage, there was no short supply of youth participation this year.
“We have proof in this room these kids can do anything,” Johnson said. “They’re preparing to be leaders of the community.”
For more information about No More Mat-Su’s events and volunteer opportunities, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at email@example.com