Gnomes invade Denver – #EndViolence – CU Denver News
Gnomes descend on Denver. Yes, they’re cute, but they also have an important message about healthy relationships. Last week, staff at the Center on Domestic Violence (CDV) at UC Denver’s School of Public Affairs and young leaders from four DPS high schools launched the #GnoMo Violence student campaign.
Maria Limon of CDV, who facilitates the project under a Tony Grampas Youth Services grant, has been working with adolescents since November. The students are part of a youth leadership program aimed at raising awareness of healthy relationships. Using a program developed by SAFE Austin called Expect Respect, Limon and high school leaders created the GnoMo Violence campaign.
The idea of the gnome was born out of necessity. “What kind of project can we take on during the pandemic?” asked Limon. “How do you get a message across to travel without being physically there?” The answer: the gnomes. The gnomes of healthy relationships, to be exact.
Each of the gnomes is accompanied by a message at the bottom: “Hi. I am a traveling gnome of violence. What do you think a healthy relationship looks like? The post also includes instructions for taking a photo of the gnome and posting it on social media. Students use Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok for their campaign.
Why the gnomes?
Caprice Agassounon, who will be starting her final year at Thomas Jefferson High School in the fall, simply says, “Gnomes are the cutest and cutest thing there is.” Agassounon, who is currently the social media manager for GnoMo Violence, added, “I really liked the idea of using gnomes as travel partners who show up randomly all over Colorado.”
For Agassounon, “the gnomes represent innocence, healing and protection”. Everyone involved in GnoMo Violence is hoping that the gnomes will get some attention. “Come look at me,” they say. The idea is that people’s curiosity will lead them to investigate gnomes, who are the ambassadors of healthy relationships. “The GnoMo Violence project is a representation of being aware, finding resources and making resources accessible to everyone, children and adults,” she explained.
Many of the young leaders participating in GnoMo Violence come from diverse backgrounds, so they want the campaign to be as inclusive as possible. “They are people of the world majority, people of color,” said Limon. They wanted gnomes to reflect different races, ethnicities, genders, and religions. So they ordered gnomes from a maker who made them in different skin tones, and they dressed them in clothes that reflected different cultures and religions.
Where in the world?
Gnomes are already traveling from near and far. “Gnomes are going to make their way everywhere,” Limon said. “As we speak, there is a gnome going to Oaxaca, Mexico and a gnome going to Paris, France… Who knows how far they will go?
They will likely be heading to the CU Denver campus, as the GnoMo Violence campaign is for everyone. “The grant aims to change our culture in general,” said Limon. “In order to see this kind of change happen, we look for ways to effect the change on a personal level, and then we reach out to family, friends, our communities and our institutions that are the larger fabric of our lives. . Adolescent leaders will work to implement change at each of these levels. “
What is a healthy relationship?
Agassounon believes that she started learning healthy relationships too late in life. “When I was 13, I was in an abusive relationship,” she said. “You can’t prevent teenagers from being in a relationship; they’re going to do it anyway. These children, myself included, are entering this shadow realm of the unknown, knowing absolutely nothing about how relationships should be, how to communicate, what is worth communicating, and what are the signs that you need help.
Limon said most people don’t openly talk about healthy relationships. “I certainly haven’t had a dinner conversation with my family about what a healthy relationship looks like,” she said. “I learned that the person with the most power determines what the relationship looks like. We can all benefit from these conversations.
Unrealistic media culture
For teens like Agassounon, who grew up using social media in their daily lives, healthy relationships can be even more mysterious. “When you look at social media, it’s hard to find a normal relationship,” she says. “The media is all we have, these toxic forms of display and communication. “
Limon may not have grown up with social media, but she also highlights the relationship between culture and domestic violence (as well as dating and intimate partner violence). “Very few people were able to think about the kinds of relationships they wanted to have without being swayed by an unrealistic media culture.”
A topic of conversation
Limon, who enjoys working with young leaders, wants the project to foster conversation. “GnoMo Violence is all about raising awareness in a fun way,” she said. “At the same time, getting people to start thinking about what constitutes a healthy relationship.”
Agassounon wants everyone to get involved. “Society pushes men to suppress their emotions and swallow their fears and insecurities, while teaching women that they don’t matter and are nothing more than their assigned sex. . We push these stories on everyone, hurting every person on this planet, ”she said.
But gnomes can help, if they can get people talking. “A culture of silence puts everyone at risk,” Agassounon said. “GnoMo Violence tries to put a needle in the big balloon of silence.”