Drivers on Grand River Avenue in East Lansing may have noticed something different Tuesday: Hundreds of Teal Prayer Flags lining the street, honoring survivors of Larry Nassar’s abuse.
There are 326 now, but within the coming days that number will grow to 505, the number of known Nassar victims.
The flags have been signed by thousands of students at Michigan State University and have messages of support, such as “You are strong,” ‘We are listening,” and “You are believed.”
Words that mean the world to Valerie von Frank, the mother of Grace French, who was abused by Larry Nassar.
“The students on this campus understand the conversation that we’re having,” she said. “They understand what we’re saying, and what the survivors are saying, and they’re standing with the survivors.”
von Frank says when the group she founded, Parents of Sister Survivors Engage, approached the City of East Lansing and asked if they would put the flags up, there was no hesitation.
“The city’s participation in this is so incredibly meaningful and touching for us parents and for the sister survivors,” she said.
And von Frank and East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows hope this is a blueprint for how to move forward.
“This is something that hopefully provides a lesson in terms of the administration of any organization so we never see something like this happens again,” Meadows said.
Meadows said the flags will stay up at least through the end of April, and there will be a formal dedication in the coming days.
von Frank added she hopes the conversation continues from here.
“It’s not just coming to terms about what happened in the past,” she said. “This is helping because what we want to do is to allow more people to come forward. to recognize this.”