Juneau residents line up with legislators for a picture and a cheer during a Go Blue Day Rally for National Child Abuse Prevention Month at the Capitol on Friday, April 5, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Juneau residents line up with legislators for a picture and a cheer during a Go Blue Day Rally for National Child Abuse Prevention Month at the Capitol on Friday, April 5, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Surviving abuse: Rally raises awareness of child abuse, neglect

Supportive community members can make major difference, experts say

A cold wind whipped in front of the Alaska State Capitol on Friday afternoon, sending pinwheels spinning and a police barricade tumbling.

The pinwheels and the traffic barricade were there for a rally in honor of National Go Blue Day, which aims to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect. The annual event also tries to bring attention to the importance of families and communities working together to build a more positive environment for vulnerable children.

More than 60 people showed up, despite the windy weather, and many of them were wearing blue for the event. Blue streamers, pinwheels and cupcakes were handed out. There were at least 15 legislators in attendance, including Rep. Geran Tarr, D-Anchorage, who helped put the event together along with the Alaska Children’s Trust and the Association for the Education of Young Children.

“I look forward to this day,” Tarr said. “It’s not an easy topic, but because it’s an opportunity where we can come together in solidarity and we work toward change. I know with all the amazing people here, when we work together we’ll create the change that we really want.”

Amalia Monreal, Child and Family Clinician for the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, left, and Barbara Dude, Family Services Administrator, speak during a Go Blue Day Rally for National Child Abuse Prevention Month at the Capitol on Friday, April 5, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Amalia Monreal, Child and Family Clinician for the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, left, and Barbara Dude, Family Services Administrator, speak during a Go Blue Day Rally for National Child Abuse Prevention Month at the Capitol on Friday, April 5, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

The keynote speakers were both from Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (CCTHITA). Family Services Administrator Barbara Dude spoke about her own experience as a child and the support she received from family members and those in the community. Child and Family Clinician Amalia Monreal provided some tips to those looking to make a child’s day a little brighter.

Dude said she has a fairly high Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) score, meaning she went through a great deal of trauma as a child. Things began to turn around, she said, when women in her community began supporting her. She became involved in the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program and formed a deep friendship with her “big sister,” she said.

Monreal referred mostly to a Readers Digest article that she thought spoke well about the issue. The article, entitled “I survived child abuse for years — here’s what everyone gets wrong about it,” written by Erin Cole, detailed how abuse can be overlooked, even by the victims themselves.

Many children who are being abused or neglected might not even realize it, Cole wrote, and might assume that the treatment they’re going through is normal because it’s all they’ve ever known. Monreal read from the article, but looked up from time to time to offer her own insight.

One main piece of advice she shared was a simple way to raise a child’s self-esteem.

“You need to take the time to look at the children, look them in the eye, and tell them how amazing they are,” Monreal said.

Lori Brotherton, right, hands out pinwheels to Kim Rowan and Steve Carls during a Go Blue Day Rally for National Child Abuse Prevention Month at the Capitol on Friday, April 5, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Lori Brotherton, right, hands out pinwheels to Kim Rowan and Steve Carls during a Go Blue Day Rally for National Child Abuse Prevention Month at the Capitol on Friday, April 5, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

After Dude and Monreal spoke, about a dozen legislators gathered on the steps together and a few of them shared their thoughts.

Among them was Rep. Andi Story, D-Juneau, who spent 15 years on the Juneau Board of Education and is currently the co-chair of the House Education Committee.

“I really appreciate the words that were spoken up here,” Story said. “They touched me deeply. We need to support parents, grandparents, caregivers on the tough job of raising children. It’s so demanding. It deserves our support.”

Following the rally, the remaining attendees gathered with the lawmakers on the steps for a picture, declaring loudly that they intend to end child abuse. April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and people can find more resources at organizations’ websites such as www.alaskachildrenstrust.org or www.dhss.alaska.gov/ocs.

Tips for supporting children and neighbors

• As a parent, block out 15 minutes per day to play one-on-one with your child, doing anything they want.

• Tell the children or youth in your life how much you care for them and appreciate them.

• Connect with grandparents to preserve cultural heritage.

• Compliment a father on something positive you see him do with his children.

• Support parents looking for a job by offering your professional knowledge and experience in resume writing or preparing for a job interview.

• Introduce yourself to your neighbors.

• Take action on legislative issues that affect children and families. Call your elected officials.


• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at amccarthy@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.


More in News

The Norwegian Sun in port on Oct. 25, 2023. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for t​​he week of May 11

Here’s what to expect this week.

Members of the Thunder Mountain High School culinary arts team prepare their three-course meal during the National ProStart Invitational in Baltimore on April 26-28. (Photo by Rebecca Giedosh-Ruge)
TMHS culinary arts team serves a meal of kings at national competition

Five students who won state competition bring Alaskan crab and salmon to “Top Chef”-style event.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Wednesday, May 15, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Sen. Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel, listens to discussion on the Senate floor on Wednesday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
A look at some of the bills that failed to pass the Alaska Legislature this year

Parts of a long-term plan to bring state revenue and expenses into line again failed to advance.

Rep. Genevieve Mina, D-Anchorage, stares at a pile stack of budget amendments on Tuesday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska lawmakers expand food stamp program with goal of preventing hunger, application backlogs

More Alaskans will be able to access food stamps following lawmakers’ vote… Continue reading

Nathan Jackson (left) and John Hagen accept awards at the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska President’s Awards banquet. (Courtesy photo)
Haines artists get belated recognition for iconic Tlingit and Haida logo

Nathan Jackson and John Hagen created the design that has been on tribal materials since the ‘70s.

Dori Thompson pours hooligan into a heating tank on May 2. (Lex Treinen/Chilkat Valley News)
Hooligan oil cooked at culture camp ‘it’s pure magic’

Two-day process of extracting oil from fish remains the same as thousands of years ago.

Shorebirds forage on July 17, 2019, along the edge of Cook Inlet by the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail in Anchorage. The Alaska Legislature has passed a bill that will enable carbon storage in reservoirs deep below Cook Inlet. The carbon-storage bill include numerous other provisions aimed at improving energy supplies and deliverability in Cook Inlet and elsewhere. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska Legislature passes carbon-storage bill with additional energy provisions

The Alaska Legislature has passed a bill that combines carbon storage, new… Continue reading

Most Read