Thursday October 19 - it was a beautiful evening to shine a light on domestic abuse! Information tables, candles, the Lotus Tree of Hope, powerful anti-abuse t-shirts from N.O.W and our amazing speakers all came together for our NYC community to help break the cycle of abuse.
People from all over New York City and the world helped create the Lotus Tree of Hope by sharing hand written messages of encouragement to survivors of domestic abuse. Their words were so inspiring that hundreds of park goers photographed and shared the cards on social media.
Kicking off the action was Complicate the World Collective's super dance performance - I wasn't the only person watching who got a little emotional. It was pitch perfect: moving and uplifting.
Honored guest speaker Gwen Wright, Executive Director of Governor Cuomo's Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence showed us why she's the woman in charge! She kept it real with the crowd and through her personal sharing, reminded everyone present that women in abusive relationships will mistakenly blame themselves. Instead of leaving, they continue trying harder and harder to fix an unfixable situation. Gwen's sharing was also a great reminder that women who wind up in abusive relationships are often smart, caring, hard working, problem solving, stick to it individuals.
Michele Kaminsky, author and Director of the Bureau of Domestic Violence from the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office gave us some sobering statistics that drove home the pervasiveness of domestic violence in our community. You're certainly not alone, and she's working hard to make sure victims are supported with the resources they need.
We had a surprise guest show up - police officers from the 6th Precinct joined us at the tables with important info and Officer O'Reilly got up and let everyone know that his mission is to help victims get to safety.
Our partner and Founder of the NYC Women's March and Women's March Alliance Katherine Siemionko brought it all home with a fierce poem that rocked everyone who heard it. Following the arc of abuse from its charming inception to the bitter isolated end, Katherine found the perfect way to highlight that no victim sees it coming or asks for it.
Ilianexy Morales, a courageous woman who survived being stabbed over 100 times, was presented the EndAbuse4Good 2017 Full Circle Award by Gwen Wright. Ilianexy eloquently and bravely shared her story which reminded every person there - abuse begins with charm, jealousy, and control. Just because a partner never lays a hand on you doesn't mean you're not in danger when you decide to leave.
We also heard from Melissa Quesinberry of National Organization for Women who shared some vital stats that shook up our usual perception about domestic abuse and a few words from me - Aryn Quinn, Founder of EndAbuse4Good!
Sending us all off into the night to continue shining a light was the phenomenal Shannon Conley, lead signer of Lez Zepplin, with her sizzling rendition of Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive. WOW!!! A perfect way to wrap up the 1st Annual Shine A Light Save A Life rally!
See you next year with a brand new line up of performances and speakers!
Special Thank You's...
Volunteers make it all happen - you made the rally a success!
- Louisa Bradshaw
- Tziona Breitbart
- Debbie Chueh
- Sofia Ciniglio
- Ashley Flores
- Lindsay Gruskay
- Avery Kelly
- Macy Kwok
- Kana Tomita
- Sonia Wong
- Heart Montalbano
- Justin Gild
Complicate The World Collective are:
- Buket Gulbeyaz