LEWISTON — The Church of Safe Injection is heartbroken to announce the sudden and unexpected death of its executive director, Kari Morissette. Kari passed away on Friday, May 6, 2022.
Kari Morissette, 33, was a fierce advocate and friend to people who use drugs, fighting for their health, rights and dignity. Under her leadership, the Church of Safe Injection became certified as a state Syringe Service Program through the Maine CDC to operate in Westbrook, Lewiston, Rumford, Bethel and Dixfield. Their brick-and-mortar program and administrative office is at 195 Main Street in Lewiston.
In addition to managing the Church of Safe Injection, Kari was active in the state legislature, passionately advocating for legislation to save lives, support harm reduction, connect people to recovery, and dismantle systems that oppress marginalized communities, including LGBTQ+ people and the unhoused community. She was also a Certified Intentional Peer Support Specialist and Recovery Coach at Spurwink Services in Portland. She provided resources, referrals and support to her clients and was courageous and outspoken in her determination to fight for equity and compassion for all people. Her energy was contagious.
Kari shared her heart with everyone. From volunteering for the Maine Association of Recovery Residences and conducting focus groups to facilitating meetings for people who experienced sexual assault and trafficking, Kari was always the first to offer her time, her love and her wisdom.
Zoe Brokos, Director of Operations for the Church of Safe Injection issued the following statement:
“We love Kari and we are shattered by her loss. We are grieving the loss of our beloved friend, a fierce advocate, and a respected leader in the recovery and harm reduction communities. Kari was one-of-a-kind. She was brave, compassionate, and visionary. She was unwavering in her commitment that people who use drugs should have safety, community and hope. Every single person Kari met was motivated by her love and positivity. That is the legacy she leaves with us. We dedicate our work to Kari’s memory and the statement she lived by: We learn, we grow and we keep it moving.”
The Board of Directors and staff of the Church of Safe Injection are working with Kari’s family to plan a celebration of life for Sunday, May 22nd. Kari leaves behind a family who loves her, including her sisters Ashley and Tiffany, her brother Mychal, her father Chuck, her daughter Jaelynn, her best friend Molly, plus so many people who loved her exactly for who she was. The time and location for the celebration of life will be announced on social media and to the press and media contacts once confirmed.