This morning, at their annual breakfast, the Peninsula Family YMCA recognized CORA as their 2019 Community Hero.
CORA’s Executive Director, Colsaria Henderson, was there to accept the award. This is what she said….
Thank you for a wonderful introduction and thank you to the Y Community for championing our communities’ youth and, of course, for honoring CORA with this respected award. It is an honor and privilege to represent CORA and to be here today.
With the theme of safety on our minds it is imperative for me to elevate the hard, beautiful, sometimes heart-wrenching, and always awe-inspiring work CORA’s staff master every day.
A typical day at Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse includes frantic – sometimes life-threatening – calls to our crisis line, hours of listening, safety planning, and counseling with individuals that are contemplating fleeing and navigating escalating violence in their homes and lives. It includes our legal staff providing a bridge to often incomprehensible systems, battling court cases, literally arguing for the safety of a survivor and their children. It’s also our heart-warming shelter staff, hearing and bearing witness to horrifying accounts of domestic terrorism and abuse often voiced for the first time. And then our youth engagement team, who most often support teens who may be suffering at home and in their relationship and who often lack the autonomy to address their safety; those whose daily lives are synonymous with the word trapped.
These are the heroes focused on safety. The survivors and victims of unpalatable oppression and abuse.
And the staff that walks with them on their journey.
The statistics are clear. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will experience intimate partner violence or abuse. When it comes to our youth, those statistics jump to 1 in 3; leaving more than 1.5 million high school students to experience physical abuse from a partner each year. That number continues to climb when we add verbal abuse, psychological abuse, and sexual coercion.
When will we as a society be accountable and say “Enough!”?
Earlier, Chuck asks us to move beyond talk and into action. CORA plans to do just that.
Inspired by the tenacious voices of the next generation, both here today and around the world, CORA will today shift Domestic Violence Awareness Month to Domestic Violence Action Month.
Throughout the month of October, we will call on our community to take daily action. We will post action items on social media. We will ask our colleagues and community partners to join us. We will be accountable. We will re-commit to achieving equity and safety.
A tenet of leadership is knowing how to follow, and when it comes to today’s necessity for social action we will follow the leaders of the next generations.
Failure is not an option. We have heard the cries, we heed the call, and it is now time to act.
Awareness is important, but let’s not forget action.
How will you take action to end intimate partner abuse?
(Hint: Follow us on social media and see action items all month long.)