Chrysalis Award posthumously going to nurse and advocate ‘Winkie’ Mitchell

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month

Project Woman will honor Blontas “Winkie” Mitchell posthumously with its Chrysalis Award for her lifelong commitment to anti-violence, restorative justice, civil rights and peace work.

The award will be presented to her son, Jason Mitchell, at the annual Candlelight Vigil, which will be held at the Esplanade in downtown Springfield on Oct. 6 at 7 p.m.

Mitchell, 71, passed away on Sept. 3. She worked as a behavioral health nurse at Rocking Horse and Clark County Mental Health Services, but also worked at Springfield City Schools and partnered with countless other agencies and groups, according to a Project Woman press release.

The annual Chrysalis Award recognizes an individual or group for their outstanding advocacy work on behalf of those affected by intimate partner violence, sexual assault, stalking, or bullying.

“Mitchell’s life and work embodied the very meaning of the Chrysalis Award,” said Katherine Eckstrand, communications and community engagement director.

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Mitchell is a graduate of Springfield Catholic Central High School, and she received her RN degree at Clark State University.

Project Woman executive director Laura Baxter said she remembers Mitchell as “a powerhouse.”

“She looked into the heart of a person and saw the human being,” Baxter said. “I always felt it was part of her heart that was meeting the part of your heart. I believe she lived that.”

In addition to her son, Mitchell is also survived by sisters Ledia M. Long Castelberry, Marsia A. Starling-Pearson, Winiferd A.S. Hardy, Dawn M. Gaines , step-sister Patricia M. Eason and step-brothers, Edward P. McCormick Jr. and Gregory McCormick; stepmother, Agnes M. Starling; ex-husband William Mitchell; grandchildren JacQuan Mitchell, Jaylen Mitchell, JaNai Mitchell, Dominique Mitchell, Paris Mitchell and many other cousins, great-grandchildren and friends, according to Mitchell’s obituary.

She was preceded in death by her parents Winferd and Elease Starling, her sister Belinda R. Young, her niece Maria A. Long and other loved ones, her obituary said.

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Wittenberg students will walk to and from the event as part of their “Take Back the Night” program. Their choral group, Just Eve, will also perform.

The annual vigil is part of Project Women’s observation of Domestic Violence Awareness month, which occurs nationally every October.

On Oct. 14 and 15, Victim Witness, a group of advocates with the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office, will bring the Clothesline Project to city hall in Springfield. The Clothesline Project includes installations of hanging shirts with messages that raise awareness about intimate partner violence and more. Survivors in Project Woman programs and on area college campuses will make shirts for the event.

Project Woman’s fundraiser for emergency shelter services, DIVA! Night Out, will also come to the Courtyard by Marriott, Springfield on Oct. 27 from 5:30-8 p.m. Tickets and more information can be found on Project Woman’s website.

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