Dear Mr. Haulman;
I am writing to express my support for the Jonestown Memorial scheduled to be held this upcoming May 29th at Evergreen Cemetery. Although I will be unable to attend, due to age and distance, this service is important to myself and others who lost those near and dear to them at Jonestown for a couple of reasons. This memorial not only allows us to celebrate the memories of those dear to us who were lost that day, but it also creates a vital space where we, the survivors, the ones still here and dealing with this legacy, can come together to mourn, heal and connect with each other. This is critically important, especially in light of the fact that oftentimes it is difficult to even speak to others about those we lost that day, due to widespread confusion and misinformation accepted as fact by the public about the individuals there, who had dedicated themselves and their best efforts to building the community that was Jonestown. The connections I made with other survivors when I have attended in the past, allowed me to learn so much more about Pat, who she was and what her life was like in those last few years. All of this was solely as a result of the memorials held at Evergreen Cemetery.
My sister, Pat Grunnet, had dedicated most of her adult life as an advocate for the poor and disenfranchised. She spent the early 60’s in Tanganyika in the Peace Corps where she taught English. In Florida, she worked with the migrant farm worker ministry with the Disciples of Christ Christian Church. She spent several years working with Cesar Chavez in California’s Central Valley doing outreach and teaching farm worker’s children. At Jonestown, as far as I can remember, she was in charge of the children’s educational program. She loved her work, she loved children, and was deeply committed to helping those who needed a hand up, an opportunity to achieve a better life for themselves.
This memorial provides a positive and vital opportunity for myself and other Jonestown survivors to remember Pat, and those just like her, who had a vision for a better world – to remember them with compassion and love, for who they truly were and for their positive contributions to society, rather than allow them to be defined solely by how they died.
I am very grateful for all the years you and Evergreen Cemetery have supported our group and hope that that will continue in the future.