Rebuilding the Home

Written by Emily Djabi, Community Outreach Coordinator: Center for Victim and Human Rights

Gina and Matt had been separated for a few months when Gina bought a house for herself and her two sons, Cameron and Jacob*. But Matt soon moved back in, and the abuse Gina had previously endured began again. This time, though, it would be different: her boys would be threatened.

On the night that Gina decided would be the last one Matt wielded his power over them, she sacrificed her body to protect her sons from his rage, sheltered them as he physically tore apart their home, and covered their ears from his threats to burn down the house as they sat trapped in the attic.

ginaAfter the terror of that last night, Gina needed help navigating the complicated court systems. After the seemingly endless civil hearings and criminal trials, though, she had to find a way to rebuild her home for her family.

For Gina, Cameron, and Jacob, rebuilding became a process of renovating their home and lives together. The boys frequently said, “Daddy broke our home,” and while they were referring to the physical damage throughout the house—the broken beds, walls, and doors—there was a much deeper brokenness. Matt had destroyed not just the physical aspects of the house, but also the feeling of safety a home should provide.

Gina started in the boys’ bedroom, where the incident escalated, by repainting and repairing the excessive damage, but this was only the beginning of a long process. Gina knew that in order for the boys to feel safe again, the three of them had to communicate and trust one another, a process helped in large part by praying together.

Rebuilding and repairing the physical damage also allowed Gina and her boys to work through their emotions and restore their family. It hasn’t been easy, but Gina wants her boys to understand that, while there are consequences for Matt’s actions, forgiveness is crucially important. It doesn’t mean that what he did was okay, but to heal they have to be able to forgive, too.

For Gina, Cameron, and Jacob, rebuilding was not just about fixing the brokenness they saw, but rebuilding the emotional and psychological damage that had been done. Rebuilding was about their family coming together to reestablish their home and, most importantly, their lives.

They are no longer victims, but survivors of domestic violence.
*Names have been changed to protect the identities of those involved.


How Many Slaves Do you Have Working in Your Home?

My name is Rev. Libby Davis Manning, and I am a Lutheran pastor serving Christ the Savior Lutheran Church in Fishers. We are increasing the conversation around the horrors of Human Trafficking in our community of Indianapolis and our world, and are planning to host a Spirit and Place interactive event in 2018.


Until then, we invite you to go to this website and learn more about human trafficking in our community by taking an 11 question survey about your lifestyle:

Based on the responses you offer, the survey will create a number for you to indicate how many people are trafficked in the world to support your home and lifestyle,  and throughout the survey, you will be educated to make smarter consumer choices for your home.    After each question and answer, you will learn a bit about the commoditization of women and young girls and why certain products in your home support more human slavery than other products.

For example, do you wear cotton, drink coffee, or carry a smart phone?  Those three products are responsible for a tremendous amount of human trafficking in our world.   By learning about the products that drive the evil of human trafficking, you can make different consumer choices and decrease the demand for those products. Together, the choices we make for our home can change the lives for many.

Back to the original question.  When I took the survey, my number was 52.  52 people live in slavery because of the choices I make for my home.  And I don’t hang out in strip joints, and I’m not involved in the sex trade.  And that’s my point.  All of us are complicit in human trafficking because of the products we buy, which drive the demand.  And just as true, we can change the products we buy to decrease demand.  Because let’s be honest, even 1 is too many.

And I and others in our community are doing something about this.  We are consumers and we can leverage our purchases to end slavery. We want all Hoosiers to know their footprint, and to buy with freedom.  Go to and invite others to get educated too.  Then, I’ll see you at Spirit and Place Festival, because Home is a place where everyone should be free.

Questions about Home

I like questions. I was the child in the backseat of the car who asked their parents every ten minutes “are we there yet?” because mostly I liked to see what kind of answer I would receive. Sometimes my parents would answer me honestly with the time left in our trip, other times they would sigh and exasperated, they would tell me that we were ten minutes closer than the last time I had asked. Quite frequently, my sister would roll her eyes and try to move her body as far away as she could from me and my relentless probing. If I was a child today, my parents would probably have bought me a GPS just to get a break. My sister would have contributed financially.

This questioning nature has perhaps become less obnoxious as I’ve aged but I still find myself asking many questions every day. I think that’s why I like this year’s Spirit and Place theme so much because it has challenged me to come up with endless inquiries about what home means. So, what is home? Is it a place, or a person, or a feeling? Is it a physical house or an emotional state of being? Does it have to be the place where you live or can it be somewhere you feel comfortable like a church, or a park, or a bookstore? On an even more basic level, is it just someplace where you feel safe and protected?

Refugee family at Indianapolis airport - provided by Exodus Refugee Immigration

Refugee family at airport – provided by Exodus Refugee Immigration

The recurring theme that I seem to keep coming back to through all of these questions is welcome. To me, home is where you feel welcome and where you can welcome others. Which, of course, leads me to an entirely new set of questions on how does one do this? How do you welcome others into your home, your city, or your community? Is it through a handshake or a hug, picking a refugee family up at the airport, providing a meal and a bed to a weary traveler, or by having a genuine conversation with others? As for me, I bet you can guess, when I welcome someone, I tend to ask a lot of questions.

I hope you will join me in seeking out answers to these inquiries and more by attending the 21st Annual Spirit and Place Festival on November 4th-13th. Are we there yet?

Katie Bulloff is the Social Media Coordinator and Stewardship Associate at Northminster Presbyterian Church. Along with Exodus Refugee Immigration, The Polis Center, and Yardbox Films, Northminster is pleased to be presenting Refugees Welcome on November 12th from 2-4pm as part of this year’s Spirit and Place Festival.

Dr. King and Robert Kennedy are Building a Neighborhood

On April 4, 1968, we tragically lost Dr. Martin Luther Jr. That night, Robert Kennedy spoke to a large crowd on a dark, rainy Indianapolis street corner. His speech is now counted among the greatest speeches in American history – and it has become part of Indianapolis character. The speech told people the unspeakable news, and shared what makes America great: working hard together to inspire hope, no matter how hard, no matter how daunting. Indianapolis was at peace that night as people returned home to think about what kind of country we should become.

Indiana Recorder Collection, Indiana Historical Society

Indiana Recorder Collection, Indiana Historical Society

I first became aware of April 4, 1968 when I saw its effect in other people. I saw people who became inspired to do public service careers and public good in whatever lives they led. I saw people working to establish hope no matter what. Then I saw President Clinton come to King Park and dedicate that space where it all happened. A memorial stands there today.

Later, I joined a diverse community group which eventually became the Kennedy King Memorial Initiative (KKMI) What has emboldened me more than anything is how the space draws people, and affects them after they leave. Out-of town visitors, local officials, celebrities, neighborhood residents all stand there looking, thinking, wondering, silent. Every time I see that, I become moved. I know that our mission is working, that people will learn about the history, that they will think about what it means today, and how we live our lives, and how it points towards the future as we grapple with challenges personal and public. We continue to teach youth, train teachers, build the park, and of course, commemorate April 4, 1968 every year.


Today, the King Park area is experiencing a renaissance, all centered around that special space with its storied history. We at KKMI like to say that the “dream” happened there that special night when the loss of one leader became an awe-inspiring moment through another. This month, KKMI will be hosting and convening a special event to unify the 7 King Park area neighborhood associations and figure out its priorities. It will be social, engaging, informational, and most important, thought provoking. Just like Robert Kennedy told us to do over 48 years ago. And it just feels like MLK and RFK will continue to build that neighborhood forever.

Judge David J. Dreyer is the Chair of the Kennedy King Memorial Initiative, Inc. He has served on the Marion Superior Court since 1997.

The Moderator or, “Ten Thoughts I Thunked”

by Kevin Armstrong

Longtime Spirit & Place Public Conversation moderator Kevin Armstrong created this top ten list to help you plan a well-moderator discussion. Check out the partner’s resource page for the extended version!


  1. The moderator’s principal role is to allow each panelist to be his or her best self.
  1. If at all possible, talk individually with the panelists before the event and talk together with the group for at least an hour before the presentation.
  2. Avoid formal introductions.
  1. Stand up for the audience and involve them.
  2. Be neutral and objective.
  1. Be informed and prepared.
  2. Ask the question everyone has on his or her mind but is not asking..
  1. Once you’ve asked a question, look at the audience and look at the other panelists.
  2. Be attentive to three things at once: The conversation that is going on. Where the panelists seem to be taking the conversation. How the audience is responding.
  1. Say Thank you.

Attended our Signature event – Public Conversation in the past? What tips do you have?

Meet the “Award of Awesomeness” nominees

Home Logo Vertical

2016 is Indiana’s Bicentennial year – the perfect time for Hoosiers to celebrate, explore, and consider the different meanings and dimensions of “home.” To honor this, the 2016 Spirit & Place Festival presents HOME as a place, a space, and an idea through 40 events November 4-13.

Nine of those events have been recognized this year for exemplifying the values that make the Spirit & Place Festival special. The winning “Award of Awesomeness” event will receive a $1,000 award at the conclusion of the festival that will be announced at the Public Conversation on November 13. Learn more about each of these events below!


Moving Stories 

**Bold & Daring “Award of Awesomeness” nominee

Saturday, Nov. 5 — Sunday, Nov. 13 (times vary based on bus schedule)

IndyGo busses & Julia M. Carson Transit Center

$1.75 per ride

A “moving” exhibit—literally!—devoted to the stories and images of what makes Indy home for our community. Presented by Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation, Writing Futures at Marian University, CityWrite, IndyGo Transit Ambassadors, and Indianapolis Arts Council. Fare can be purchased online at, on a bus, by calling 317-635-3344, or at the Transit Center during retail hours.

I Am Home: Muslim Hoosiers

**Inclusive & Open-Minded “Award of Awesomeness” nominee

Saturday, Nov. 5 at 10 a.m. to Friday, Nov. 11 at 5 p.m.

Center for Interfaith Cooperation (1100 W. 42nd St., Ste. 125, Indianapolis, IN)

Saturday, Nov. 12, 10 a.m. — 7 p.m.

University of Indianapolis, Schwitzer Student Center (1400 E. Hanna Ave, Indianapolis, IN)

Photo and audio gallery experience of Muslim Hoosiers sharing what makes Indiana their home. Presented by Muslim Alliance of Indiana and the Center for Interfaith Cooperation. 317-306-1998 or

Riverside Speaks! Past, Present, and Future

**Rooted in Place “Award of Awesomeness” nominee

Saturday, Nov. 5, 9 a.m. — 4 p.m.

Ebenezer Baptist Church & Rock ‘n Riverside House (1901 N Harding St)


Riverside Speaks! celebrates a community with a “pop-up museum,” historic recreations and performances, and a church and home tour. Presented by Ebenezer Baptist Church, Indiana Historical Society, Riverside Reunion, Indiana Humanities, Kenyetta Dance Company, and Insight Development Corp. 317-631-5946 or

Finding Home: Indiana at 200

**Collaboration “Award of Awesomeness” nominee

Saturday, Nov. 5, 4 p.m. & 8 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 6, 2 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 8, 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 10, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 12, 5 p.m. & 9 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 13, 2 p.m.

Indiana Repertory Theatre, Upperstage (140 W Washington St, Indianapolis, IN)

Tickets start at $25. Order at or by calling 317-635-5252

Multifaceted look at Indiana’s life and times mixes music and history, comedy and drama, fact and fable. Presented by Indiana Repertory Theatre and Indiana Historical Society.

Closing in on the Homestretch: A Community Dialogue on Youth Homelessness

**Socially Meaningful “Award of Awesomeness” nominee

Sat., Nov. 6, 1 p.m. — 4:30 p.m.

Central Library (40 E St Clair St, Indianapolis, IN)


Film screening and dynamic community dialogue on youth homelessness with the filmmakers of “The Homestretch.”

Presented by Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention (CHIP), Spargel Productions, Homeless Youth Taskforce, Outreach, Inc., and Stopover, Inc. 317-472-7636 or

Homing the Houseless

**Spiritually Meaningful “Award of Awesomeness” nominee
Wednesday, Nov. 9, 6:30 p.m. — 9 p.m.
Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation (6501 N Meridian St, Indianapolis, IN)


Watch the “Road to Eden” and reflect with filmmaker Doug Passon on the connection between homelessness, spirituality, and holiday of Sukkot. Presented by Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, 317-255-6647 or

Homes Before Highways: Communities Under the Exit Ramps

**Build Community “Award of Awesomeness” nominee

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 7 p.m. — 9 p.m.

Concord Neighborhood Center (1310 S Meridian St, Indianapolis, IN)


Share stories and see photos of homes and businesses destroyed on Indianapolis’ south and west sides by the interstate construction of the 1960s and ‘70s. Presented by IUPUI Department of Anthropology and Concord Neighborhood Center.317-278-4548 or

Spirited Chase: Something to Write Home About

**Fun “Award of Awesomeness” nominee

Saturday, Nov. 12, 9 a.m. — 3 p.m.

5 Mystery Venues

$9 Per Person, RSVP by Wednesday, Nov. 9 at
This on-the-go program offers the chance to visit five mystery locations to learn what “home” means to the people and places of Indianapolis. Must provide own transportation. Presented by WFYI and its community partners. 317-636-2020 or

The Things They Brought Home: Military Tattoos

**Most Thought-Provoking “Award of Awesomeness” nominee

Saturday, Nov. 12, 3 p.m. — 5 p.m.

Indianapolis Art Center (820 E 67th St, Indianapolis, IN)


This interactive art exhibition explores the veteran experience, tattoos, and the concept of the “body as home” through photography, writing, and panel discussion. Presented by Indianapolis Art Center, Veterans in Industries and Arts, and Indiana Writers Center. 255-2464 or

A full listing of events is available at

The Deep Connection Between Music and Place

By Erin Jeter

Spirit & Place Festival always has always chosen interesting and relatable themes – ones that tie to many different facets of our lives. And this year’s theme, HOME, is even more relevant to me than most, as I am a musician and feel a very deep connection between music and my sense of place. And I’ve somewhat recently dedicated myself to serving Indiana musicians through my job as Executive Director at Musical Family Tree. So for this post, I want to take the opportunity to discuss the importance of celebrating the amazing musicians in your home city.

Bloomington band, Brenda’s Friend, at Indy CD & Vinyl. Photo credit to Adan Orona.

Bloomington band, Brenda’s Friend, at Indy CD & Vinyl. Photo credit to Adan Orona.

For just about everyone, your childhood hometown is probably the most transformational place in your life. When you’re young, this is the first city in which you learn to make lifelong friends, discover the hobbies and interests that you pursue through adulthood and find a community of people who support you and who shape you. The very same goes for bands and the cities they start in. The relationships they make, the support they do or do not find, and the skills they develop early in their formation impact the entirety of their musical life-span. Every artist who has ever “made it” started somewhere where they were playing for small crowds of just their friends.

So, I challenge you go to a local show, listen to the radio or visit to find local musicians whose music you enjoy, and become a fan. And when I say fan, I mean buy their albums, follow them on social media, tell your friends, buy their merch, and go to their shows. Even just one artist. Because I promise you, when you begin dedicating even the smallest bit of energy into seeking out great local music, you’ll be inspired by and proud of the incredibly talented musicians who call this city home.

Musical Family Tree is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with the mission of Spreading Indiana Music. By serving Indiana’s music communities, MFT aims to help build a more sustainable and world-recognized music scene in Indiana. We accomplish this by preserving, documenting, and promoting Indiana music, past and present.