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SU, Vera House partner to raise awareness of domestic violence with White Ribbon Campaign March 27-April 5
Matthew R. Snyder
Vera House Inc. and Syracuse University will partner once again on Vera House’s annual White Ribbon Campaign, which runs March 27-April 5. The campaign is a community-wide initiative to raise awareness of domestic and sexual violence. Participants wear white ribbons, wristbands and lapel pins as a sign that they will not remain silent about nor commit acts of gender-based violence.
SU students, faculty and staff have been among the campaign’s strongest supporters, participating by the tens of thousands in recent years. For 2009, Vera House has invited Thomas V. Wolfe, senior vice president and dean of student affairs, and Rami S. Badawy, director of judicial affairs, to co-chair its Central New York campaign. Wolfe was the campaign’s chair in 2008, and with Marilyn Wolfe, his wife, received the Sister Mary Vera Recognition Award for work to combat domestic violence. Badawy received the Sister Mary Vera Recognition Award in 2007. The 2009 campaign’s honorary community chair is George Kilpatrick, host and producer for WCNY.
“As members of this community, we all work and live in relation to issues of domestic and sexual violence,” says Wolfe. “By wearing our white ribbons, we send the message that we care about these issues and are willing to work together toward ending the silence that surrounds them.”
For 2009 the campaign offers new opportunities to participate. A highlight is the March 27 kickoff event, which begins at noon in Clinton Square. Connective Corridor buses will transport students, faculty and staff to the event, where they will have the opportunity to see (or join) Wolfe, Badawy and other male community leaders as they “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.” The act of walking through Clinton Square in high-heeled shoes will carry a serious message: that these men have the courage to take a stand against domestic and sexual violence and to lead others in doing the same. There will be a group march (heels optional) to Armory Square, with participants tying ribbons around streetlamps and trees along the way. The ribbons will stay up for the entire campaign as a symbol of continued dedication to ending domestic and sexual violence.
Buses for students, faculty and staff will depart College Place for Armory Square every 20 minutes from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; the 11, 11:20 and 11:40 a.m. buses will be the best choice for march participants. After the event concludes, buses will pick up on their regular schedule at the Connective Corridor stop in Armory Square for the trip back to campus. Those who wish to ride a bus are encouraged to sign up and may do so by visiting the Office of Student Life in 126 Schine Student Center, or by e-mailing Meggan Ford at firstname.lastname@example.org. For students, the deadline to sign up is Wednesday, March 25, at 5 p.m.
Throughout the campaign, SU community members are invited to participate by purchasing and wearing white ribbons ($1), wrist bands ($1) or lapel pins ($5); attending White Ribbon Campaign events (online at http://verahouse.org); and talking to others about the campaign’s message. Ribbons are on sale at several offices across campus, in the atrium of the Schine Student Center, or by calling Jennifer Uryniak in the Division of Student Affairs at 443-4357. University funds cannot be used as payment; acceptable means include cash and checks made out to “Vera House Inc.”
Community members may also participate in the “12 Men Model,” a new initiative this year in which men are encouraged to recruit and educate other men about the campaign and underlying cause. Dozens of men around campus are already participating, and men interested in setting up a 12 Men project during the campaign can visit http://verahouse.org/news&events/2009%2012%20Men%20Model.pdf to learn more.
The White Ribbon Campaign leads the SU community into a period of sustained interest and activity around domestic and sexual violence. April is widely recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month and as in past years, a variety of SU initiatives will build on the awareness created by the White Ribbon Campaign. These include Take Back the Night Week, Hands Against Violence, the Clothesline Project and the annual Take Back the Night Rally, which are principally coordinated by the R.A.P.E. Center. Information and schedules of events will be published in the coming days.
Vera House has been working to end domestic and sexual violence in Onondaga County for more than 30 years. The agency provides shelter, advocacy and counseling services for women, children and men; education and prevention programs; and community coordination. It also partners with SU to provide advocacy and support services. Vera House introduced the White Ribbon Campaign to Central New York in 1995.