Like so many people in the Boston area, we at REACH were back at work this Monday morning and trying to regain a sense of normalcy after the harrowing events of the last week. We work in Waltham, which was one of the six cities and towns along with Boston itself that were completely shut down on Friday. As we posted that announcement to our Facebook and Twitter pages on Friday, we had to stop short of saying what so many other people were saying to one another, “Stay safe at home.” For so many of the people we work with, home is not a safe place.
As residents of our shelter watched the events on Friday unfold, they had a variety of different reactions. The feelings of anxiety that many of us experienced that day (and the sense that danger can lurk around any corner) are all too familiar to some of them. To live with that sense of danger day in and day out takes an incredible toll. For us it was a reminder that to say “I can’t focus on work/school/life until this is resolved” is an option that the survivors we work with don’t have. Either they do manage to keep things going while living with heightened anxiety, or they don’t – and have difficulty maintaining a job or completing the daily tasks of life.
The events of the past week also provided an incredible example of how a community can pull together in the face of violence to care for one another, to be vigilant and hold perpetrators accountable, and to celebrate law enforcement officials who recognize the danger and respond accordingly. Many questions remain about what motivates such hateful acts, and some may never be answered. What we do know is that we can all recommit to the work of preventing violence in our homes and in our streets, and take good care of ourselves and of one another, until everyone is safe at home.