UND takes a stand against violence

CVIC and CVIC at UND give 2019 Peacemaker Award to Grand Forks Associate Superintendent of Schools Jody Thompson

North Dakota Clothesline Project 2019.

The North Dakota Clothesline Project, a somber annual tradition at the University of North Dakota, moved to the UND Wellness Center last Wednesday and Thursday, as the event’s usual setting — the UND Memorial Union — is undergoing reconstruction. Connor Murphy/UND Today.

The University of North Dakota took a visible stand against violence last week, as it does every year, as the host site of the annual “North Dakota Clothesline Project” — a somber display of T-shirts with messages of empowerment and pain from victims who’ve experienced interpersonal violence.

The T-shirts were on display on Wednesday and Thursday (Oct. 9-10) in the UND Wellness Center. The display moved to the Wellness Center this year because its traditional home, the UND Memorial Union, is undergoing a complete reconstruction.

The week also saw the Grand Forks Community Violence Intervention Center (CVIC) and its CVIC at UND program host the annual Take Back the Night Rally on Thursday, as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In addition, the organizations honored the winner of the 2019 Peacemaker Award, which is given to a person who champions change that promotes peace and an end to interpersonal violence.

North Dakota Clothesline Project 2019.

The North Dakota Clothesline Project, each year, features dozens of T-shirts, designed by adults and children from the area who have been harmed by violence. Connor Murphy/UND Today.

Grand Forks Public Schools Associate Superintendent of Elementary Education Jody Thompson was named the 2019 Peacemaker Award recipient for his partnership in the “Safer Tomorrows” initiative to end violence in two generations.

Thompson, a UND alumnus, has provided instrumental leadership in CVIC’s efforts to develop a community plan to end childhood exposure to violence by serving on the Safer Tomorrows Governance Team from 2011 to 2016 and on the agency’s board of directors from 2012 to 2019.

“Anytime the public schools can be involved, we want to be front and center,” Thompson said. “I gladly accept the award on behalf of the Grand Forks Public Schools and all the county schools involved in the Safer Tomorrows Road Map.”

Thompson was influential in CVIC’s successful efforts to implement prevention programs in schools throughout Grand Forks County, according to CVIC President and CEO Coiya Tompkins.

“More kids are being reached with prevention education and healing services than ever before as a result of Jody’s efforts,” said Tompkins.

Jody Thompson (center)

Jody Thompson (center) receives the 2019 CVIC Peacemaker Award, presented by (left to right) Director of Community Innovations Kari Kerr; Grants Administrator Julie Christianson; Board Chair Darla Adams; President/CEO Coiya Tompkins; Director of Advocacy & Empowerment Laura Nash Frisch; and Prevention & Education Specialist Kaitlin Atkinson. Photo courtesy of the CVIC.

Advocacy and empowerment

CVIC spokeswoman Doris Cooper said The Take Back the Night rally, which drew about 100 people, provided a venue for individuals who have experienced violence in relationships to share how their past experiences have shaped their advocacy and empowerment. Volunteers from UND Athletics and the Alpha Chi Omega sorority chapter also assisted at the rally.

The rally was the culmination of the two-day North Dakota Clothesline Project at the Wellness Center.

“We know there are many people in our region living with violence who may never be heard unless the community stands together to break the silence,” Tompkins said. “In order to end violence, we must bring attention to its impact and talk about the benefits of a community-wide support system.”

A march that had been slated to accompany the rally was cancelled due to inclement weather.

More about Jody Thompson:

Jody Thompson is the associate superintendent of elementary education at Grand Forks Public Schools. Thompson began his career in the Grand Forks Public Schools in 1988 as a fourth grade teacher at Carl Ben Eielson School on the Grand Forks Air Force Base. He served as an administrative intern at Nathan F. Twining Elementary/Middle School, also on the Grand Forks Air Force Base, during the 1993-1994 school year. In 1994, Thompson was named principal at Eielson, where he served in that capacity until being named principal at Valley Middle School in 1998. Thompson has served as an assistant superintendent since 2002.

He is a native of Grand Forks and a product of Grand Forks Public Schools. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and his master’s degree from the University of North Dakota. Jody and his wife, Machell, have two sons, Travis and Taylor.

About CVIC:

The Community Violence Intervention Center provides crisis support, advocacy and intervention services for people impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault and other violent crimes, as well as prevention and education programs in the region’s schools and communities. In 2018, CVIC provided services to more than 3,200 people. Its prevention efforts reached nearly 19,000.