Residents light up the town purple to raise awareness for suicide prevention

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Local businesses are banding together to advocate for a community-wide conversation about suicide awareness and prevention. Purple light bulbs are popping up around town, in an effort to show solidarity as a community and start a conversation.

The Executive Director for Festival Fairbanks, Julie Jones, said, "By putting out the purple light bulb, people might ask the question, 'What's going on? What do these purple light bulbs mean?', and it starts a conversation about suicide prevention and suicide awareness."

Jones was approached by Micheline Patterson to start this community project, and she says people are already reaching out sharing their stories and pictures of where they put their purple light bulb.

"I'm meeting some of those people and that's been a new thing for me too, because you know you have your close circle of friends, and suddenly people are popping up starting a conversation and saying 'I have those feelings, I have been through this, and I'm finding tools and resources for myself and I would like to share that with you or hear my story. Please hear my story," Jones said.

Patterson bought all of the purple lights in Fairbanks and is giving them away. VENUE has a box of them and is now a hub for people to come get purple light bulbs.

VENUE founder, Isiahe want to light this town up in purple, to really honor the people we have lost in recent weeks and months and really be in solidarity as a community. If I can quote Julie, we bought the town out of purple light bulbs. So we have plenty to hand out."

The hope is to have purple light shining throughout the community to continue the conversation.

If you would like to get a purple light bulb and showcase it outside your house or business, you can either call Festival Fairbanks at 907-456-1984 and they will deliver it to you, or stop by Venue located downtown.