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May 22  Newsletter

Dear Friends,

Happy May. I hope all of you are well and enjoying this incredible spring. There is so much to be grateful for. We are just sending out the press release for our book, Results. I was so pleased to see that the Justice Department just issued a press release on the murders of intimates and their data confirms ours. The trend in domestic homicides is downward folks. That's a big reason to celebrate. Let's spread the word. I will send you a copy of our press release in a separate message. 

Today I give you a summary of the Empower Program, called Owning Up, for prevention of domestic abuse in adolescents. We are really excited about this program. They have good research and are continuing to collect statistics that show that the program is successful with adolescents, both boys and girls. The boys change even more than the girls. Good news. If you would like to send a message to the others in this list serve, please send the message to me and I will distribute it. That way we will not be getting a lot of random messages, which is the bane of other list serves I've been involved with. I try to report all the messages and I do a little editing as necessary. So please email your response to me at hagbe003@tc.umn.edu or just
put your message at the top of the newsletter and send it all back to me. Please do not carbon copy all the newsletter recipients.
Thanks for your cooperation.



WELCOME NEW EMAIL CORRESPONDENTS:
Lauren Comai (Jr. League, Ann Arbor, MI), Ashley Peterson (Communications Specialist, Texas Council on Family Violence, Austin), Becky Jarvis (Council for Prostitution Alternatives, Portland), Carolina O'Farrill Tapia (Director, Instituto Cultural De Prevencion A La Violencia Intrafamiliar, Mexico), Edna Victoria Rodriguez (Abogada, Guatamala City, Guatmala), Licda.Dora Amalia Taracena (Coordinator, Mujer Salud Y Violencia, Guatamala City, Guatamala)




NEWS FROM THE STATES/COUNTRIES:

ARIZONA:

John Peterson's memorial service is next Monday in Tucson. I (Janet) will be there representing the Silent Witnesses and all of you. Please keep all of his family in your thoughts and prayers. This is a difficult time. Diane so appreciates all the warmth you have shown her in these weeks. And she is dedicating her life to working on Silent Witness to carry on John's (and her) dream.



CAYMAN ISLANDS:

Angela Doyle, from the Cayman Islands, sends us this preliminary report with more details to come:

Yes we will keep you posted on this year's campaign. Our slogan is Educate to Eradicte and we are taking the campaign to the youth of Cayman through the schools. I have received government backing from the Education Ministry from our original chair Joy Basdeo whom I am sure you
know. I also hope to get some support from Cafra this week as they are pushing the domestic violence issue over the Caribbean this year and I was invited to join the government steering committee dealing with them. I will contact you over the next few weeks when we have our full agenda in place. I met the Governors wife yesterday who promised to host a reception for us either to open or close the campaign, so we are very lucky with the level of support we receive. Also the Police Commissioner is a staunch supporter of 16 Days & is always there for us. As ever keep up the good work. *Yes, yes, yes. It's so great to hear from our friends in the Caymans. They brought a whole contingency to the march and we were thrilled. They have already instituted several results projects. Keep up the good work, friends.



MAINE:

Beverly Runyan, of the St. Croix Advocates for Family Peace, in Maine writes us about her experience carrying the Witnesses around Maine: 

I was the one from Washington County, Maine, whom Susan Fuller referred to in her piece. We had an incredible 10 days with the Silent Witnesses, taking them to two high schools, University of Maine at Machias, Washington County Technical College, Washington County Domestic Violence Task Force quarterly meeting, and a supermarket. What a great chance to spread awareness and hope. Susan is a wonderful custodian of the exhibit. We all felt her commitment passed on to us along with the exhibit. *We are so pleased that this is so meaningful and profound for so many of you.That's what it's all about, moving our hearts with compassion and
energy to do the work to end this scourge and heal this country of domestic violence. YES.


MARYLAND:

Pat and Warren Lupson send us this news about their web site honoring the life of their daughter who is one of the Silent Witnesses.

Sending incredible news - 10,000 people have visited our kid's home page as of today, Friday, May 12. http://www.g-s-j.org What a wonderful feeling to know that this page has touched so many lives.  What a fantastic way to pay honor to our kid's memory.

As always, we thank you for your ongoing support, concern and love.

*And we send you our strong support for keeping up with this incredible calling that you have of helping and healing the families who've lost their loved ones.



MINNESOTA:

Last weekend Betty King and her committee hosted a vigil for the unknown woman and the unknown child that I reported on in the last newsletter. These two people were found in a ditch near Rochester MN and no one can identify them. They had been beheaded and their bodies left in garbage bags. We are still wondering if any of you know if there are missing people from your state and could lead us to their identities.

The vigil was so moving. Laurie Reese, our Silent Witness carpenter, made two more figures, one of a woman, one of a child, both without heads. You can imagine the impact that had on those attending the vigil and on the media. On their plaques were their stories, under the title Unknown
Woman, Unknown Child. Several powerful poeple spoke including MN's Attorney General and community leaders. Poems and music lead us to memorializing these two people and honoring their memory. We all pledged to call our public officials to be accountable to find out who these two are and who murdered them.

There will be a burial in Rochester for Sister Doe and Baby Doe on May 26. A caravan will leave the Martin Luther King Center at 8:30 that morning to drive to Rochester. And then in June there will be a vigil in Rochester and a drive to the state capitol to call for a remembrance and justice for these two beloved individuals.

*Thanks to Betty and her dedicated committee these two lives will not be forgotten. 

And on another note, I (Janet) met a woman named Noukou Thao at this vigil from the Hmong and Lao Women's Organization. She is very interested in creating an exhibit honoring the women in their culture who have been murdered in DV. I am so pleased to share this Silent Witness
information with such wonderful visionary women. Welcome.



OREGON:

Becky Pardo-Jarvis wrote this note to us from Cornelius, Oregon, where they are making a new Silent Witness exhibit:

I work in the Latino community of Cornelius, Oregon with a group called Latina Empower Network. Our group is interested in building or purchasing a silent witness to memorialize a Latina that was killed in our community about two years ago.

*This is wonderful news, that another community will be joining the Silent Witness network. We welcome you and will help you out in any way that we can. We're excited that you're on board.


PENNSYLVANIA:

A message from Mahnaz Harrison of the Jr. League of Pittsburgh regarding our new miniature Silent Witness cardboard figures:

I do not remember whether I told you why I wanted the Little witnesses. We will be on the senate floor in October giving testimony for Rep Jane Orie who is passing some legislation to support universal screening by the HMOs. We will give every Rep one of these little witnesses. Hear from you soon.

*Isn't this great, giving all the Legislators miniature Silent Witness figures to remind them of what we are all about. More ordering information in the next newsletter.



TEXAS:

In my visit to Texas last week I (Janet) got to visit the Texas Council on Family Violence headquarters in Austin and talk with Ashley Peterson, their communications specialist who coordinates the Silent Witness Exhibit. They have now parcelled out most of their 160 Silent Witnesses to all the shelters in Texas so each has two to use locally. Some shelters are adding to the existing figures so women who were murdered more recently are included. It makes it so much more personal to the city or county when we do that. It is exciting to know that the Silent Witnesses are all over Texas now, and that's a BIG deal in a big state.

I also got a chance to spend time with Nicky Niles, our fearless coordinator of the Silent Witnesses in Texas for several years. She was the force behind making all 160 Witnesses, getting packing crates made by an engineering class, and bringing all of the Witnesses to Washington for the March to End the Silence in 1997. She is one go-getter. And now, guess what, she's in Law School at the University of Texas in Austin. Next year she takes a classs with the one and only Sarah Buel of Quincy fame. Watch out. When Nicky gets her law degree she make take on the whole world. We are all behind her wishing her well. And she's only 27!!!

I was planning to meet with Aly Morgan, a great friend of Silent Witness and a wonderful country Western singer who uses her music to bring a healing message of hope about domestic violence. She could not get a plane to meet me so we are to reschedule again soon. I'm so excited about
all the possiblities of working with Aly.

Oh, and some of you are aware of my fascination (or fanatacism!) with baseball. I got to see the brand new stadium and the brand new minor league team owned and operated by Nolan Ryan, the great pitcher. The team is called the Round Rock Express. I was beside myself with glee. And the Express won!! I am beyond repair on this issue so don't even think about rehabilitating me.


NEWS FROM NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS:

WE NEED YOUR HELP FOR RESEARCH ON RURAL CHURCHES' RESPONSE TO SOCIAL ISSUES
Rodger McDaniel, a minister who is a mover and shaker in Wyoming has asked us to participate in his new research. He helped get a series of drug courts established across the state, that now provide effective treatment in lieu of expensive and ineffective prison sentences. Please help him out by answering the questions below if they apply to you. Please reply directly to him at his
email below. Thanks for your help.

Dear Friends
I am an ordained minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). I am currently working on a  fellowship at the College of Preachers at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. The title of my work is "Prophetic Preaching in the Rural Church." It stems from concerns I have that rural churches need to find a way to engage social issues such as domestic violence, substance
abuse, prison reform,and economic justice among others. I find many congregations resistant to such preaching and preachers reluctant to engage in it.

I would be grateful to you for your feedback on this question. If you live in a rural community, please give me your input.

(1) Do you attend church regularly, i.e. at least once a month?

(2) Whether you do or not, what is your impression of the willingness of the local church community to get involved in issues of social justice?

(3) Do you believe the church should get involved in these issues? If so, why and in what ways? If not, why not.

(4) What have you seen the church do that you thought was especially helpful in addressing these issues? Especially harmful?

(5) What role should the minister play in your community on advocating action on a given social problem?

I am in the process of writing a book on the question of the role of the rural church in social justice issues. I will not use your name but will use some of the material I receive in response to this inquiry. Your help will be gratefully appreciated.

God's Blessings
Rev. Rodger McDaniel rodger.mcdaniel@worldnet.att.net
Cheyenne, Wyoming

 

WHITE BISON WALK ACROSS AMERICA

We got this wonderful note from a sister of a Witness who participated in the White Bison Walk: 
I would like to thank you for providing the silhouette of LaTisha Joy Brien, my sister, for the White Bison, Wiping of the Tears walk. I think this will help the members of my family in the healing process. Marjorie Bearing




Silent Witness Web Site

Silent Witness National Web site is in the top 15% of sebsites contacted, as reported by the webhotlinked.com organization who monitors web site usage. They show us our web site's popularity as compared with other web sites. We get on average 12,500 hits a month or rougly 500 per day. On one day we got 865 hits. The states that used us the most last month were Virginia, Minnesota, California, Georgia, Texas, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Connecticut. The countries who used us the most were the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, Japan, Isreal, Germany, New Zealand, Malaysia, The Netherlands, Mexico, Sweden, Denmark, Saudi Arabia, and Estonia. In just a few weeks, our new 1998 numbers for domestic homicides for each state will be available on our site. You can just link to the site and see how your state is doing in eliminating domestic homicides for women.

States' domestic homicide rates for women www.silentwitness.net/html/results/us_map.html

State leaders for Silent Witness www.silentwitness.net/html/involved.html

Our SW National anthem (we even have a sample you can listen to) www.silentwitness.net/html/darkness.html

SW products to order www.silentwitness.net/html/official.html

Latest news, including recent newsletters www.silentwitness.net/html/news.html

Our mission statement,goals www.silentwitness.net/html/swni.htm

Poems and inspiration www.silentwitness.net/html/poetry1.html



EMPOWER PROGRAM 
(Owning Up) OFFERS TRAINING FOR ADOLESCENT PROGRAMS 
(prevention of domestic abuse)

Two day training for Owning UP includes these topics:

Developing best practices for engaging students in program material Cliques and social isolation
Reputations
Setting boundaries
Bullying
Same sex social hierarchies and their impact on relations with opposite sex
Same sex social hierarchies and their impact on girls' vulnerability to violence
Sexual harrassment
Consent/date rape
Domestic violence and abusive relationships
How will all this curricula fits into your program
Identifying allies, challenges, obstacles
Creating an implementation plan

They offer 30 hours of post training technical assistance. Classes limited to 25 participants.
Who should attend: counselors, youth educatiors, nurses, community organizers, Silent Witness activists who want to make a difference with kids.

THis program would be a terrific next step for several of you who already do presentations in junior highs or high schools. It provides in depth understanding of the dynamics underneath relationships with same sex groups that predispose them to abusive relationships. You could sponsor a training for professionals in your area AND you could take the training yourself in order to work with youth. Professional background is not essential, just a passion for healing teens and their relationships.

Rosalind Wiseman is the co-founder and President of the Empower program. The results they've seen show that adolescent girls' test scores rise (instead of dropping as is the national average) and the attitudes and behaviors of boys change as a result of this program. They are doing ongoing research and the results are very hopeful. Please look into bringing this training to your state. It is one of our nine Results Projects and we would like to see it operating in 15 states by the end of the year.

Rosalind Wiseman 202-882-2800 empower@empowered.org 
www.empowered.org

NEW BOOK ON FINDING YOUR WAY TO DEEP MEANING IN YOUR LIFE

I am recommending a new book called The Rhythm of Compassion by Gail Straub. (Available at bookstores and at Amazon.com and BN.com) It takes you through the steps of looking at your life and finding the central theme that you have followed. It allows you to delve deeply into the nature of that theme. Then it helps you see what you are called to do in your life (like Silent Witness work!!) and helps empower you to cut through what is in the way of attaining that work. It is a reflective book and will take some quiet time to complete. But it leads you to grace and to electrifying your life with the meaning that you seek. Here are the intriguing Chapter Titles:

Digging for a Central Image, Uncovering the Artifacts We inherited from Our Parents, Excavating Where You Belong and Where You Hide, Unearthing Broken Hearts, Radical Surprises and Wake Up Calls, Gathering the Pieces into a Whole: Offering the Lessons in Your Story, Preparing the Ground for Conscious Service, Uncovering the Shadow Side of Service, Cultivating a Quiet Mind and an Open Heart, Cultivating Presence and Radical Simplicity, Service as a Spiritual Practice, Stewardship as Spiritual Practice, My Heart if Breaking, My Heart if Awakening, Seeing the Invisible through the Eyes of the Heart, Letting Go, Letting God: the Divine Partnership, The Heart in Full Blossom: Moving Beyond Right and Wrong, In Harmony with Our Rhythm of Compassion.


I leave you today with a quote from a book by Marion Woodman called Leaving My Father's House:

Story telling is at the heart of life...In finding our own story, we assemble all the parts of ourselves. What ever kind of mess we have made of it, we can somehow see the totality of who we are and recognize how our blunderings are related. We can own what we did and value who we are, not because of the outome, but because of the soul story that propelled us. That story is our individual myth. 

Tell your stories, friends. Honor your lives. Believe in what propells you. Heal the world.

Cheers,

Janet


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