Mayor William Bell and members of the Birmingham City Council officially declared October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Birmingham during a recent council meeting and praised the YWCA Central Alabama for its efforts in reaching more victims, educating the public and offering help and hope.
“The Mayor and City Council stand united, together with the YWCA and with our purple ribbons, in the effort to eradicate what is going on with many of our families and in many of our homes,” Councilor Marcus Lundy said. “We long for the day when we can say our jobs are done, but until then, we will keep educating, keep fighting and keep raising awareness.”
Council members and YW supporters gathered at a breakfast sponsored by Verizon Wireless before the meeting. “One out of four women is a victim of domestic violence, and that is one too many,” YWCA CEO Yolanda Sullivan told the group. “It is a silent killer. It cannot be silent any longer. You are not supposed to hurt someone you love.”
During the meeting, Mayor Bell read a proclamation and the council passed a resolution supporting the YW in its efforts to raise awareness about the issue. Council members also presented a public service announcement they filmed in conjunction with the YWCA’s “NoXcuses” domestic violence awareness campaign. “It’s only through understanding that we can help families who are affected by domestic violence to fight back,” Councilor Lashunda Scales said in the PSA.
The YWCA offers a broad array of domestic violence services, including a 24-hour crisis hotline and two emergency shelters for victims and their children. The YW has four attorneys on staff to help victims get protection from abuse orders or to assist them with the complex legal issues that oftentimes accompany divorce proceedings or financial issues. Court advocates accompany victims to hearings to help them navigate the complicated legal system. In addition, the YW offers counseling and support groups for victims, as well as children who have witnessed abuse.
Tom Granger, of Verizon, said domestic violence prevention is a focus of the company and getting involved at the grass roots level is a priority. Verizon will sponsor several YW initiatives this month. “We will provide the financial support so the YW can keep doing what they do,” he said.
Verizon has a number of ways the public can help raise awareness and funds during October. If you’re on social media, send a message of hope using the hashtag #voiceshavepower or text 94079. For every message submitted, Verizon will donate $3 for domestic violence prevention programs. Learn more at www.voiceshavepower.com. In addition, the company will donate $3 for every purple HopeLine accessory product purchased, up to $50,000.
In addition, you can donate old phones to HopeLine from Verizon, which provides wireless phones and airtime to victims of domestic violence, as well as funding for shelters and nonprofits. Phones may be dropped off at any Verizon Wireless store or by mail or using the postage-paid mailing label available at http://www.verizonwireless.com/hopeline.