EAST LANSING, Mich. — Members of the media and community are invited to a dedication ceremony for a special installation honoring the sister survivors this Thursday, April 11 at 11:30 a.m. in downtown East Lansing’s Ann Street Plaza, corner of Albert and M.A.C. avenues.
The City of East Lansing has partnered with the Parents of Sister Survivors Engage (POSSE) to install teal prayer flags in the Tibetan tradition in downtown East Lansing for each of the 505 known survivors of Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse. Flags were installed along Grand River Avenue last week and additional flags will be installed adjacent to Ann Street Plaza this week.
To commemorate this special installation, a ceremony will be held in the heart of downtown East Lansing this Thursday, at which East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows, a sister survivor and representatives from POSSE and several student organizations will make remarks.
POSSE has been working since fall 2018 to create the teal prayer flags in support of the survivors of Larry Nassar. Nassar was an osteopathic physician at MSU for decades and was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison in 2018 on child pornography charges as well as two consecutive terms (an effective life sentence) in Ingham and Eaton counties on criminal sexual conduct charges. The flags are signed by numerous individuals from the MSU student body with words of support and encouragement for the survivors. At least 4,000 students have written messages of support.
“In making these flags, our goal was to hang them near campus for all to see and, as prayer flags, spread their messages of goodwill on the wind throughout the community,” said Valerie von Frank, founder and chair of POSSE and a mother of one of the survivors. “The flags will then be given to the individual survivors.”
“We are honored to be able to provide a public space for these flags, which will be prominently displayed throughout the month of April as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month,” said East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows. “We stand with the survivors and are pleased to be a part of this meaningful project.”
“We are so pleased that the mayor offered the City’s support and encouragement in calling attention to the survivors, and more to the issue of sexual assault in general,” said von Frank. “It really has to be an ongoing, public conversation if we are going to change rape culture.”
Campus organizations helped in the hundreds of hours it took to get the teal prayer flags signed, including Reclaim MSU, the College of Arts & Letters student council, the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities student council, the MSU College Democrats, the Women’s Health Alliance, MSU Women’s Council and the Bailey Scholars Program. In addition, Country Stitches – an East Lansing business – offered support and area quilters and sewers donated their skills, including, but not limited to: Glenna Segall, Linda Karek and Teresa Zuker. It’s Yours Signs in Mason donated supplies.