A bird fleeing its cage can represent many ideas — transition, freedom, release.
For a project by Live Violence Free, the symbol will represent someone affected by something far more tragic.
A carefully drawn bird flying from its cage outlined on a white T-shirt, representing South Lake Tahoe resident Lyra Fisher-Bomediano, is one of the first designs being completed for a community project to bring awareness to violence against women and children. Fisher-Bomediano was killed by her husband in a murder-suicide last summer.
“It’s nice to refresh the community’s mind that was just last year,” Scarlet Caldwell, a prevention educator for Live Violence Free, said about the center’s participation in The Clothesline Project. The nationwide effort encourages people to design T-shirts for a clothesline display.
Live Violence Free is participating in the national project as part of the organization’s observance of April as both Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month.
The national Clothesline Project dates back to 1990, when 31 shirts displayed in Hyannis, Mass., as part of a Take Back the Night event, according to an online history of the project at www.clotheslineproject.org. The project was designed to highlight the thousands of women killed each year by their male partners.
“Doing the laundry was always considered women’s work and in the days of close-knit neighborhoods women often exchanged information over backyard fences while hanging their clothes out to dry,” according to the history. “The concept was simple — let each woman tell her story in her own unique way, using words and/or artwork to decorate her shirt.”
Different colored shirts designed for the effort represent different aspects of sexual violence and child abuse.
Yellow shirts are for victims of battery, white shirts are for those who have lost their lives to violence and red is for victims of sexual assault.
Blue shirts represent those harmed by child abuse, while purple is for victims of violence due to sexual orientation and black is for supportive allies of abuse victims.
As far as what actually goes on the shirt, it’s up to each participant to decide.
“It can be messages, illustrations, really anything you want,” Caldwell said.
Everyone — men, women and children — are welcome to participate, she added.
In addition to two upcoming workshops hosted by the center, people are encouraged to design shirts on their own and bring them into Live Violence Free, located at 2941 Lake Tahoe Blvd.
The workshops are scheduled for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 19 and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 24 at the center. Live Violence Free has T-shirts available.
The clothesline is scheduled to go on display outside the organization’s office April 29.