- by Mount Saint Mary College
Mount Saint Mary College

Mount Saint Mary College’s Desmond Center for Community Engagement and Wellness recently hosted the Black Poster Project to commemorate the lives tragically lost to addiction through a silent memorial with visuals and heartfelt stories.

More than 150 people attended, including Mount students, faculty and staff, 55 teens from the Boys and Girls Club of Newburgh, local leaders, organizational representatives, and community residents. Approximately 200 portraits of individuals who passed away from drug overdoses and related events were on display.

The Black Poster Project was created by Dee Gillen following the overdose death of her son, Scott. She thought that having posters of loved ones who had passed away behind the event speakers would be a powerful visual aid when planning an overdose awareness event in 2019. Their main message is “raising awareness through lives lost to addiction.”

The posters collectively serve as part of the deeply poignant silent memorial exhibit that tours New Jersey and New York with the goal of educating people about the difficulties associated with addiction by sharing the testimonies of those who have lost their lives to addiction.

This event was the first of its kind hosted by Mount Saint Mary College and was carried out in collaboration with the college’s Desmond Center, The Black Poster Project, the local organization Keep It Moving! Inc., and Team Newburgh. 

Keep It Moving! Inc. is a local organization founded by a mother, Lauren Mandel, who experienced the loss of her son to an overdose and is active throughout the community, including the Mount campus, providing free Narcan Training and Kits. Team Newburgh is a local coalition that focuses on Substance Abuse Awareness.

Along with posters and stories of those who have tragically passed, there were also QR codes available to scan, giving you the ability to hear the voices of family members who have lost a loved one. 

The Black Poster Movement also provided facts about overdoses and drugs, highlighting fentanyl and heroin and also sharing that every day, 275 people lose their lives to addiction. 

Mount Saint Mary College offered a range of support services, including counseling, and collaborates with ten local organizations, such as the Mount Saint Mary College Counseling Center, Cornerstone, and Catholic Charities, to provide additional information and resources.


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