connect / 2021
The Jizo Foundation Memorial Grieving Site Project - Connecting with individuals and families to provide social and emotional support and healing following the loss of an infant at or prior to birth.
The Jizo Foundation was established to heal and support those who are grieving the loss of a baby at birth or before, through the creation of grieving spaces in public parks or gardens, where individuals and families can visit to mourn their loss. Modeled on an ancient and very popular Japanese tradition, our goal is to bring together community, foster understanding about this neglected population, and provide social, emotional and mental health support to thousands of women through connection, volunteerism, and community events.
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- County of Los Angeles
What is the problem that you are seeking to address?
According to UNICEF, a stillbirth occurs somewhere every 16 seconds, meaning every year, about 2 mill. babies are stillborn,a loss that reaches far beyond the loss of life.According to national estimates,15 to 20% of all pregnancies in the US end in miscarriage.These figures do not include the unknown number of failed IVF attempts. The inability to carry a child to term often has a traumatic long-lasting impact, resulting in profound psychological suffering and stigma on women and their families. Some women have repeated failed pregnancies, causing extraordinary grief, often leading to years of mental health issues. In Western civilization, there is no place or process for this kind of mourning. However, in Japanese culture, there are public grieving grounds, presided over by the loving bodhisattva (saint) Jizo, who, according to mythology, rescues babies who died early from the underworld, and brings them to heaven, hidden in his robe. His comfort however knows no cultural boundaries
Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.
This project will connect with families to provide emotional support and healing through ritual and community. We plan to purchase or lease a small piece of public land or existing garden, to establish the first site in the US, where we will install Jizo sculptures created by local artists, also seating and permanent signage explaining the site. There will be onsite ceremonies and rituals when allowed. The high number of miscarriages, failed IVF and stillbirths around the world is a sad and alarming fact. Based on research and medical evidence involving IVF along with pregnancies that end in miscarriage or stillbirth, around 70-75% of all conceptions end in pregnancy loss. These women suffer depression and other mental health issues, causing stress, job loss/loss of wages, family issues, even divorce. As a licensed grief counselor, and having been through the unfortunate situation herself, Patricia understands this trauma. The idea you did something to cause it, or the desperation that drives trying , despite repeated miscarriages can be devastating.There is a world-wide need for healing and solace for these victims, and our memorial sites are one way to address that anguish.Through social media we are communicating with women who are suffering, and the support within the group is very beneficial. But having a physical space to go can be even more valuable. For that reason, we plan to establish the first such site in LA County, and thereafter in locations around the country
In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?Pilot or new project, program, or initiative
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?
- Direct impact
- Indirect impact
Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.
With proper funding, we will be able to establish one or more healing sites in Los Angeles County, and commission public art with permanent stone or marble Jizo sculptures from various local artists, perhaps even hold a public art contest, with the winner getting the paid commission and public recognition. Once established, we will foster community amongst those who visit the site, offer volunteer opportunities, sponsor remembrance rituals, connecting Angelenos who have shared experiences, and create a healing environment that provides social, emotional, and mental health support. Los Angeles will become known for recognizing the need for those thousands of women who largely suffer in silence. It is our long-term plan to spread awareness and support for this unseen community through the establishment of grieving sites with public art installations in multiple locations across the country.
What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?
Our success will be measured by the establishment of the first site and the number of people who we are able to help through ritual, community, and counseling. Our social media groups will provide a platform for spreading information about the sites, urging all who visit to join and follow for updates and community gatherings. As we are able to expand the program to locations beyond SoCal, we will be able to offer more comfort and healing to women across the country. This will hopefully lead to independent support groups with women supporting other women, thereby improving the lives and mental health of all participants. The success of such outreach as it pertains to improved quality of life will be hard to measure, but we expect it will be substantial and impactful for thousands of women.
Which of the connect metrics will you impact?
- Social and emotional support
- Neighborhood council participation
Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.
- LA is the best place to CREATE
- LA is the healthiest place to LIVE