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‘Bring Back the Light’ event on the darkest night of the year meant to show solidarity for Alaskans

DHSS encouraging Alaskans to join in solidarity for the "Bring Back the Light" event.
DHSS encouraging Alaskans to join in solidarity for the "Bring Back the Light" event.(DHSS)
Published: Dec. 17, 2020 at 4:50 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) -The pandemic has separated people physically, but the Department of Health and Social Services is trying to symbolically bring Alaskans together for a special event.

On the darkest night of the year, DHSS is encouraging people to light up the state with an event called “Bring Back the Light.”

At 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 20, DHSS is prompting people to step outside and shine a light, a candle, a flashlight, a headlamp or a lantern.

The event has many meanings — celebrating the return of the light as days start getting longer, celebrating the arrival of a vaccine, honoring those who have died or suffered loss because of the pandemic and a chance for Alaskans to show solidarity with each other.

“We’re trying to give people positive ideas to get through the winter,” says Sue Libenson of DHSS. “Because winter is always tough and then this year is especially tough, so mental health is part of the challenge of this pandemic.”

Libenson says it’s part of a broader campaign on winter resiliency. She says people across the state will be celebrating the light with individual or community events.

The Anchorage Museum downtown is installing ice candles on their west lawn one for every Alaskan lost due to COVID-19.

Ice luminaries on the west lawn of Anchorage Museum honoring Alaskans who have died with...
Ice luminaries on the west lawn of Anchorage Museum honoring Alaskans who have died with COVID-19.(Alaska's News Source)

The state even has a link to how you can create your own ice luminary.

“It’s just a really positive idea,” says Libenson. “I think it’s important to give people a chance to reflect and also to look, hopefully, forward.”

Libenson says you can share photos of how you commemorate Bring Back the Light on social media with the hashtags #WithYouAlaska or #BringBackLight.

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