To honor the tradition of the National Day of Unity, the Domestic Violence Awareness Project Advisory Group decided to organize a National Call for Unity. The idea was to provide advocates with an opportunity for a collective, shared experience that would not distract from their ongoing support of survivors, their daily work to end violence, or their planned DVAM activities. Further, in observance of DVAM 2010, the NRCDV commissioned a unique and vibrant piece of artwork from Lauren Komarek, a young artist who works as an illustrator, graphic designer and sculptor. Highlighting the traditional themes of DVAM, the artwork features the words “Domestic Violence Awareness Month: mourn celebrate connect” with 3 young people looking forward to a different world, a world free from violence and coercive control.
Listen to the National Call for Unity
On this free 45-minute call, several national organizations, governmental agencies, local domestic violence programs, advocates, allies, survivors and their family and friends gathered together to connect and refocus our efforts as Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) 2010 began. Following welcoming remarks from Kenya Fairley, Program Manager with the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV), everyone on the call was welcomed by Tina Chen, Executive Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls. Next, Lynn Rosenthal, White House Advisor on Violence Against Women, shared her comments about DVAM and introduced the recorded remarks of Vice President Joe Biden, who was unable to be present on the call himself. Maria Luisa O’Neill, with the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence continued the call by explaining the history behind the National Day of Unity.
Then, after being introduced by Sue Else, President of the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), Victor Rivas Rivers, NNEDV National Spokesperson, actor, author, athlete and activist shared his moving story of abuse, survival, and activism. We also heard a dramatic recitation by Kimberly Collins of her nationally renowned poem, Remember My Name. After sharing in a collective moment of silence for all the women, children, and men who have lost their lives to domestic violence, Rev. Dr. Aleese Moore-Orbih of the FaithTrust Institute prayed for all the victims, survivors, their family, friends, advocates, and allies as we continue our work to end violence in our homes, our families, and our communities. To conclude the call, Ambar Hansen of Casa de Esperanza encouraged everyone to join their Pledge of Hope Campaign and Diane Perez of the National Domestic Violence Hotline shared details about being an advocate for women, children, and men that experience domestic violence.
- National Call for Unity 2010, full length recording (38:57 minutes)
- Remarks by Vice President Joseph Biden (1:55 minutes)
- A Survivor’s Story: Victor Rivas Rivers, “Remember My Name” recited by Kimberly Collins, and Universal Prayer by Rev. Dr. Aleese Moor-Orbih (17:41 minutes)
Writings: Poetry and Prayer
As human beings we are blessed with the ability to express ourselves through language and, by extension, the written word. From the beginning of time, words have been used to capture the mundane details of life, identify objects, show the way to hidden places, record history, and foretell the future. There is also power in words where they allow us to share our innermost thoughts, feelings and ideas. Writing allows us to harness our energy, both positive and negative, and our words bear witness to our lives. While we all have the ability to write ourselves into diaries, essays, blogs, journals, articles and poems, there comes a time when an individual will so accurately capture the essence of a movement with their words.
Over a decade ago in 1995, Kimberly A. Collins wrote Remember My Name, a poem that has been used by Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) observances to memorialize victims that have lost their lives to the horrific epidemic of domestic violence. During the 2010 National Call for Unity, as part of the kick-off to DVAM, Ms. Collins recited this poem in the hopes that through spoken words we will never forget the names or the lives of those lost to domestic violence, that we should continue to heal through our shared connections and experiences, and that we shall remain committed in our efforts to end violence in our homes, our families, and communities.
- “Remember My Name” by Kimberly Collins [PDF] (prints on legal sized 11″x14″ paper)
- “Prayer for Continued Courage” by Rev. Dr. Aleese Moore-Orbih [PDF] (prints on standard sized 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper)
Related Domestic Violence Awareness Month Blogs and Campaigns
- Read the Council on Women and Girls White House Blog to learn more about the efforts of the White House to end violence against women and girls. “Ending Violence Against Women,” posted by Lynn Rosenthal on October 5, 2010 to the White House Council on Women and Girls Blog. To join the Council for Women and Girls Listserv, please send your email contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Activate your social media network to support the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) DVAM Campaigns and help raise funds for domestic violence programs across the country. NNEDV encourages people to text the word HOPE to 41010 to make a $10 donation; listen to and share a public service announcement from Dr. Phil McGraw about his season-long campaign to “End the Silence on Domestic Violence” through YouTube; and promote the “Tell a Gal Pal” pledge through Facebook.
- In October 1994 the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), in conjunction with Ms. Magazine, created the “Remember My Name” Project, a national registry to increase public awareness of domestic violence related deaths. Since then, NCADV has been collecting information on women who have been killed by an intimate partner and produces a poster each October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, listing the names of those documented in that year.
- Show Your Support: Sign on to the FaithTrust Institute National Declaration by Religious and Spiritual Leaders to Address Violence Against Women.
- Believing that domestic violence will end only when it is no longer acceptable to each of us, Casa de Esperanza has launched the national Hope Campaign to raise awareness and encourage people from across the country to take action to end domestic violence.
- In support of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, Shop for a Cause during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. More than 22,000 callers reach out to the Hotline for help each month, and it is vital that each call be answered. Your donations ensure that Hotline Advocates are available around the clock and around the country.
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