On June 20, about 16 people visited the new “empathy tent” at Saturday Market for a simple reason: to be heard. In honor of the late Marshall Rosenberg, founder of Nonviolent Communication, Eugene resident Mark Roberts set up the tent so that people could be heard in a nonjudgmental way and experience relief from their troubles.
“I had the idea for years,” Roberts says, though he says the specific idea for an empathy tent was from another person who attended a memorial for Rosenberg.
The ages of the tent’s visitors ranged from as young as 12 to people in their 60s. Some of the sessions were very brief, while others lasted as long as 40 minutes. People came to the tent for a variety of reasons, Roberts says. Some wanted to talk about their family troubles or the community, and some just wanted to vent about the state of the country.