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July 30 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

It's mid-summer and I hope you are savoring the warmth and the slower pace of this season. Take time to sit and reflect on all that you have contributed to Silent Witness and to the hope for healing this country. Be grateful for all that others have done as well. Wallow in the love that is growing in our vast network of activists and healers.

What a tragedy we've been through as a country in the last few weeks. My heart aches for the Kennedy Family and the Bessette Family. Silent Witness is no stranger to death--especially violent death--and whenever it occurs we are deeply saddened. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the mourners. It is a reminder for us to do all we can to eliminate violent death in our country.


Laura Clark (DV Council, Owensboro, KY), Nancy Mooney (Jr. League, Ann Arbor),  Carole Martin (SW supporter, MN, resubscriber), Nicky Niles Arguello (formerly with the Texas Council on FV, now in law school-new email address), Avianca Marie Hansen (Victim Services, NYC).


Thank you, all of you angels who wrote to Nanci Boborw last week when she was facing such serious surgery. It definitely makes a difference. You'll see by the response. Here's what I received from Nanci before she went in for the surgery: 

It is Thursday and I am at home surrounded by my daughter Emily and my son Adam and his wife Christina. I am amazingly calm and ready. This morning I ran and walked on my treadmill three miles in 45 minutes. I am so healthy - Vibrantly Healthy - as we are writing on the signs for my hospital room. I can hardly believe that my body grew this cyst.

Well, out it comes tomorrow, Friday. I trust my surgeon and believe in the healing powers of love and God and I am confident that I will return quickly to renewed good health. WOW!!!! When you speak, the world listens!!!!! Please THANK everyone for the outpouring of love, support, wisdom, and wonderful good wishes. People from Alaska, Maine, Hawaii (wish I was there), NY, San Diego, CO, Ohio, Western Australia,(!) MN, WA, IL, Idaho, OR, RI, Arkansas, NJ, to name a FEW.

I FEEL THE LOVE. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. Please pass along my thanks and deep gratitude for the intensity of the support. I really feel it. Jim will send you an e-mail to tell you of my excellent progress. Thank you Janet!!!!!

Love, Nanci 


Nanci and I want to join with all our family in thanking you for your thoughts and prayers during the past week. As some of you may already know, Nanci had a benign cystic adenoma of the pancreas removed on Friday, July 23, at Barnes-Jewish Hospital here in St. Louis. Her surgeon believes that all the tumor was removed. Hopefully, Nanci will make a complete recovery. In the  meantime, she rests comfortably in the hospital. She has multiple tubes and wires helping to feed her and and monitor her vital signs. She is not accepting visitors at this time. We anticipate that she will start having the drains and tubes removed tomorrow and will leave the hospital in about a week.

*So you see what a difference you make in each life you touch!! You are angels. 




Jan Fuhr, a SW activist in CT was in Hungary this summer visiting Budapest. She happened to be on an island in the Danube between the two parts of the city and guess what she found? A display of Silent Witnesses. We didn't even know we had a Silent Witness exhibit in Hungary. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? She even took pictures of the figures and the big signs surrounding them written in Hungarian. Now she's working on getting them translated. Can anyone out there read Hungarian?

I'm pretty sure they had gotten the Silent Witness book from a group of women human rights activists--and ONE in particular, Carole Martin--in Minnesota who had taken copies with them to spread around Eastern Europe but I never knew if anything had happened as a result. They even had the latest paper doll stands!!!

*This is such wonderful news. We are moving so far in the world and spreading the word everywhere. And kudos to Jan for discovering them.


It is official: We have a new Silent Witness exhibit in Ohio, in Dayton. We've been in conversation with Patrick O'Donnell, a video producer who was at the march in Washington and felt it was one of the most moving experiences of his life. He and his wife, Joey, are doing a video for the whole state of Ohio on coordinated community responses to DV and are planning a video on court watch as well. They have decided to take on the Silent Witness exhibit in Dayton. What a wonderful idea.

Here's a note from him after a trip to a rural area of Ohio:

We just got back from three days in Defiance, Ohio -- a small, northwest,  Ohio town. We went there to videotape interviews with all the domestic violence task force players after we got the word from about ten shelter directors from around the state about how together they were up there. They were right! I have never been to such a supportive, effective task force meeting. They are a mini-San Diego in terms of "victimless" prosecution.  They have a solid no-drop policy. Law enforcement take domestic violence extremely seriously and are investigating the crime scenes thoroughly. They know they have total support from the prosecutor. It was a very positive visit. If you ever get a chance, you have got to visit Defiance.

*Welcome on board Patrick and Joey. We're so pleased to have you. And we'll eagerly await that video. 


I just got a wonderful note from the JR League of Ann Arbor. They are refurbishing their figures and reestablishing their involvement in SW. We are thrilled. Welcome back, Nancy and friends. Here's a note from Nancy:

My name is Nancy Mooney, I'm chairing a dating and domestic violence prevention and education committee for the Junior League of Ann Arbor (MI).  We are going to expand our exhibit by this fall by at least 6 witnesses, and hope to add 6 more before October. I would be interested in any updated information you could provide me for the National Initiative.

*GO Ann Arbor. Welcome back.


Ruth Garfinkel of the NCJW of Pittsburgh wrote me recently with this news.

Yes, NCJW and the Junior League of Pittsburgh are still doing the Silent Witness Initiative. We are awaiting the return of the volunteers involved to have a meeting of our newest leadership. We are going to refurbish the existing witnesses and do a second set of witnesses with names of more recent victims of domestic violence. We have learned that our strength is in the uniqueness and visibility of the witnesses, and that is where we will focus our energies.

The exhibit is presently available and is traveling around Western Pennsylvania. The person in charge of scheduling is Mary Kate Coleman of the Junior League of Pittsburgh. However, if anyone wants to schedule the exhibit it would be best for them to call either NCJW at  412-421-6118 or The Junior League of Pittsburgh at 412-687-2200.

*We are so pleased by the hard work of Pittsburgh on Silent Witness. We really appreciate all that you do. You're wonderful.



Nancy Rafi has printed the RI guide to using Silent Witness exhibits on campuses. I have read it all and it is VERY COMPELLING. I would highly recommend it if you want a stupendous event on a college campus (or high school??) this fall. They have very exciting ideas and have had much success on several campuses. They are offering copies FREE (Mailing cost $5.00) to anyone who contacts them. nrafi@afford.com The RI collaboration is on fire. Just listen to this! 

Our exhibition at the Women Sharing Strength show was unbelievable. I set the Witnesses up so that people had to walk through them to get from the refreshment area to the crafts area. There was no escape. I can't tell you how unbelievable the reactions were! I actually had one gentleman approach me and ask to sponsor a Witness from another year (we use 1992, she was murdered in 1994). He disclosed to me that she had been his neighbor and how touched he was that we were remembering these women with this memorial. It never ceases to amaze me the impact this exhibit has one ordinary people's lives.

We have also been asked to exhibit the Witnesses at the University of Rhode Island's downtown Providence campus (this is located in the middle of the business district). They have just renovated a beautiful historic building with all glass windows on the bottom floor. I was contacted by their artist-in-residence to present this as part of a domestic violence healing art piece, along with the clothesline project. I suggested to him having the Witnesses facing out towards the street at night and being backlit and he thought that would be a great idea. They are going to be displayed starting the first day of school through the end of September, and he asked me to do a presentation with the Witnesses in the main dining area during a lunch period. I'm very excited about this opportunity since we haven't been on this particular campus yet, so word is definitely getting out about our work!

On October 2, we have been asked to have the Witnesses displayed at the 25th anniversary of the RI Women's Center in Providence. It is being held at a local auditorium, and there will be performances by Holly Near and Judy Collins, to name a few. They have projected the attendance to be at least 2000. The committee actively searched us out to make sure that we  were part of the program - word is getting out how powerful this project is!

We are just starting to plan our Silent Witness Day program. It will be taking place on October 18th, since we feel this is the universal day of recognition. We have a proclamation from our Governor announcing the 18th as Silent Witness Day in Rhode Island. So far, we are planning to have it held in our capitol of Providence, and have gotten commitments from the RI Feminist Chorus to sing, DrumSisters to do a drum/chanting session, and the RI Highland Bagpipers to lead our march through the city. We are anticipating family participation, along with several speakers and a candlelight march. It is our hope that we will be able to double last year's attendance of 75 people!

*There's so much energy in RI these days, I can feel it all the way to Minnesota. Keep up the good work, you wonderful women.



The new number for ordering the Plastic Silent Witness figures from Durwood Lassiter at Precision Printing is 919-467-8898 x122. Cell phone 919-247-4226. Fax is 919-467-9764.

I want to give a special word of thanks to Durwood Lassiter of Raleigh, North Carolina. Recently I've been working with him to make a few new plastic Silent Witnesses for new Silent Witness groups and he has gone out of his way to find resources and shipping companies that would help us save money and time. He says he does this work for us because he believes so much in what we are doing. He's one great guy. Thanks a lot, Durwood. We are grateful.

And a note about out NC Coordinator, Donna Pygott. After putting on a wonderful conference and then getting married, she hasn't had enough excitement, so she's going in this week for a tonsillectomy!! Please remember Donna. We all wish her the best and hope she is up and around again in a few days. Her email address is dloyd@mindspring.com for those of you who want to send your good wishes for a speedy recovery.

*Thanks, thanks, thanks to so many wonderful contacts in NC, and get well Donna.


Our wonderful Texas Silent Witness coordinator, Nicky NIles Arguello, is leaving the Texas Council on Family Violence and going to law school at the University of Texas in Austin in just a few weeks. I want to take this opportunity to thank Nicky for all that she has meant to Silent Witness.

First, she has been to more Steering Committee meetings than anyone else in the whole country--four to be exact. She headed up the Texas Silent Witness Initiative for five years. This included researching and making 160 Silent Witnesses, getting crates made for shipping them to Washington and then transporting them and a lot of Texans to the March in Washington. That alone is a monumental effort. She was part of the program at the March in Washington and also helped organize all the states to put together a thank you gift for Jane Zeller and me at the Leadership breakfast. Wow. You'd think that was enough!

She has been involved beyond that as a a very creative Silent Witness leader. She has served as a Regional Director, recruiting states for events in their states in October and putting on events in her own state. She helped get 10 other Silent Witness programs going in Texas, helped stimulate the writing of a Court Watch protocol for all of Texas, and encouraged the Council to buy a Silent Witness book for every shelter, which they did. In addition and most importantly, she is a good friend and a tireless supporter of me and of Silent Witness nationally. And get this--she started this work with us when she was only 25!!

Needless to say, we will miss her active involvement in Silent Witness. But we'll keep her involved in other ways. And who knows, maybe after she's obtained her law degree, she will find even more ways to be involved in healing domestic violence in this country. We wish her the best, and Alex, her new husband, too, as they start on this new and exciting venture. Thanks so very much, dear Nicky.


Susan Fuller, our stalwart coordinator in Maine writes this great news: 

The Maine Silent Witness Project has really come full circle. After all the effort put into the project, the payback is tenfold. The community knows about it and the more we do the less the women we represent are not forgotten. You referred to the Men's vigils in an earlier e-mail. The men in Portland as well as the Lewiston/Farmington/Oxford areas are all having vigils in response to each victim. They are very powerful events. Sometimes the family will attend and this offers them an opportunity to grieve and be supportive by their community.

We all must realize, at this point, that change will only come when communities as a whole take on this issue with fervance. I find it so awesome that when the Maine Silent Witness Project is involved in some kind of statewide training with national speakers that these people know about the project. This element of recognition comes from the work that volunteers from each individual project take the time to do, such as: plan/transport/set-up/present/facilitate or whatever is asked of them. My hat goes off to each and every one of you. The agency I work for is phenomenal. The people have such heart and make a lifestyle out of modeling respectful behavior. It is so true that it starts within each of us. We have so much power in our simple  presence in the world and how we behave ourselves. Maine seems to be focusing on training within the medical profession and they seem to be more receptive than they were in the past.

*Thanks Susan and congratulations for all the great work that is going on in Maine.


I got this email from Debbie Kilts, a family member of a murdered woman, who is moving to Idaho this week. What an amazing gift, to have family members this committed to working on Silent Witness. So Idaho, you are getting some great new help!! I gave her the name and number of our Idaho coordinator, Celia Heady.

Hello! My name is Debbie Kilts. My husband & I are now living in Minnesota, but we are moving on to Idaho on July 31st, 1999. I would like some information sent to me on how I can get involved in a Silent Witness March in Idaho if they are doing that there.

My husband's sister & niece were shot to death last September 18th by her estranged husband near Spirit Lake, Iowa. She was going to be 36 Years old & her daughter just turned 7. We decided to let 7 yr. old Brittany become an organ donor. There are still many emotions going on with everyone! She left behind two sons ages 13 & 16, & two sisters & two brothers...I had the chance to know her for nearly 10 years, & we were pretty close. My husband & our 2 sons were always her favorites.

I am currently a volunteer at the Southwest Crisis Center in Jackson, MN. So I am trying to do whatever I can to help others, & I feel like I want to do so much more, help me to do that please!

*We sure will help you do that. We're ready and waiting. Right, Idaho???



This year Silent Witness is publishing a book called RESULTS. We are listing each major city and state along with their reductions in DV homicides and their involvement in Silent Witness awareness activities and Results projects. In the next few weeks I'll be sending out via email my summary of each state for you to check for accuracy. We're also highlighting the six Results Projects that we talk to you about all the time. This is a very exciting venture and will help  jumpstart the healing of domestic violence in this country. Thanks to Target Stores for funding this exciting project.


It is so important to have an event in October to highlight and memorialize your Silent Witnesses. The community sees that you care and the families do too. It touches people's hearts and helps raise their commitment to do more in the arena of healing domestic violence. Even if you just gather a small group of people at a park with candles to read the stories of the Witnesses one by one, it is such a moving tribute. Please consider it and start your planning now.

I've been invited to speak at the Wyoming Silent Witness event this year, sponsored by the Attorney General's Office of Victim Services (Sharon Montagnino). Last year they escorted Witnesses by police cars from all four corners of the state to a central location for a memorial ceremony. This year I believe the event in a Native American jurisdiction. I'm thrilled to be invited to this cutting edge state and will take this opportunity to bring hope and healing to the issue of domestic violence.


15 States. (If you're planning something, please let us know) Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Rhode Island, Washington State, Wyoming.



Native American drummers, bagpipers like we used to lead the Washington march, using the Witnesses at concerts where DV is not the subject at hand, bringing singers in with DV related songs, having people walk through a line of Witnesses to the program site, spotlighting Witnesses from behind in the evening, having the Governor declare Oct. 18 or the day of your event Silent Witness Day in your state.



Project Save is a nonprofit organization made up of survivors and families whose mission is to promote Domestic Violence resource awareness. One of our projects this year is to make obvious throughout the nation that people are willing to take a stance and show that they are against abuse and make it possible for a victims, families, and concerned friends to identify  people they can approach for information or resource numbers anywhere they are. We are doing this by promoting the Domestic Violence pin. The purple-ribbon-shaped pin has the words "Break the Cycle of Violence" on it so the purpose is clear. The pin is just $3.95. You can view the pin on our website. We need your help. If interested, you can send a check or money order  to Project Save P.O. Box 75 Dundee, FL 33838-0075 You can also contact us at: save911@aol.com or visit our website at www.members.aol.com/save911/domesticviolencesurvival.  Thank you for all the work you are doing to prevent Domestic Violence.


So far, State Farm in Ohio, and Levi Strauss in San Francisco will be using the Silent Witness figures for October events at their state or national headquarters. Levi Strauss reported that last year the Witnesses were so well received they want to do even more with them this year.

*This is wonderful news. Our association with the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence is bringing us into contact with great companies who are on the cutting edge of ending violence in the workplace.

I leave you today with a quote I picked several days before I knew anything about the tragedy of John Kennedy, Jr. It is a quote from a book about Robert Kennedy, called "Make Gentle the Life of This World."

We learn, at the last, to look at our brothers and sisters as aliens, as people with whom we share a city, but not a community; people bound to us in common dwelling, but not in common effort. We learn to share only a common fear, only a common desire to retreat from each other, only a common impulse to meet disagreement with force. We must admit the vanity of our false distinctions among people and learn to find our own advancement in the search for the advancement of others. We must admit in ourselves that our own children's future cannot be built on the misfortunes of others. We must recognize that this short life can neither be ennobled or enriched by hatred or revenge. Our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in our land.


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