Raising funds for Lewiston’s community resilience following Oct. 25 mass shooting

LEWISTON, MAINE – In the wake of the devastating mass shooting that occurred on October 25, 2023, the City of Lewiston along with the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce (LAMCC) has announced today the launch of the OneLewiston Resilience Fund, a fund dedicated to supporting the creation of a memorial and community unifying events to aid the city in moving forward from the tragic event that shook the entire community, state, and country.

The mass shooting, which claimed the lives of 18 individuals and injured 13 others, left an indelible mark on the City of Lewiston and reverberated across the nation as one of the worst mass shootings in recent memory. Recognizing the profound impact of this tragedy, the City of Lewiston and LAMCC are committed to a thoughtful and collaborative approach in honoring the victims, supporting the survivors, and paying tribute to the resilience of the community.

“A July 2022 Congressional Study highlighted the detrimental effects of mass shootings on affected communities, including pessimistic views on financial and local business conditions, as well as increased reports of poor mental health,” said Shanna Cox, LAMCC President and CEO. “Understanding these challenges, we join the City in support towards the healing process and fostering a sense of unity and strength within the community. It is our hope that this memorial and remembrance events will help unify, heal, and renew Lewiston’s strength, demonstrating it as the great American city it is.”

To ensure that the memorial is created with the utmost care and consideration, the City and the Chamber will establish a Memorial Planning Committee comprised of victims’ families, survivors, the deaf community, nonprofit partners, local businesses, the Chamber, and city officials. This committee will help guide the process of designing and implementing a permanent memorial that honors the memories of those lost and the resilience of the Lewiston community and also events leading up to the memorial installation. The membership of the committee will be announced at a later date as survivors continue their attention to the commission hearings.

“It will be hard to define this memorial, and it will not be done in haste,” said Heather Hunter, Lewiston City Administrator. “The people of Lewiston are resilient, and we will make sure we do this right by those directly impacted by this horrific event by creating a meaningful, purposeful memorial and unifying community events.”

The OneLewiston Resilience Fund will be kickstarted by proceeds from the Healing Hearts Gala to be held on Fri., Mar. 29, at 6 PM at the Hilton Garden Inn, 14 Great Falls Plaza, Auburn.

“Set against the backdrop of our vibrant artistic community, this event promises to be a night of fundraising and fun,” said Lilly Gardiner, Event Planner at BlackFin Experiences. “With the support of local businesses and community members, we aim to make a significant impact through charitable contributions. This gala represents an opportunity for our community to come together, leveraging our collective creativity for the greater good. We invite all members of the community to join us in this endeavor, as we unite to make a positive difference.”

For tickets and further information, please contact lahealinghearts@gmail.com or find the event on Facebook.

The Healing Hearts Gala will showcase Every Other Sunday, a spectacular nine-piece dance Maine-based band, along with the Portland Symphony, delicious foods, and a great auction.

“We will continue to utilize our Foundation’s 501C3, which was used to collect donations and distribute them directly to the victims and survivors following the tragedy,” said Cox. “By doing so, it will allow people to make contributions to the memorial and community-unifying events by declaring their donation for the OneLewiston Resilience Fund. Among our goals is to make sure that we create the permanent memorial in a completely transparent way.” The LAMCC will maintain and host the website OneLewiston.org where donations can be made.

If you would like to contribute to the OneLewiston Fund or volunteer to support the healing and memorialization process by joining the committee, please visit www.OneLewiston.org.

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