STREATOR - A luminary walk with guest speakers as well as stories from survivors of domestic violence will highlight the eighth annual Zonta Luminary Domestic Violence Awareness Walk. The walk, which coincides with Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, is scheduled to take place on Thursday, Oct. 18 beginning at Heritage Park in Streator.
The event is sponsored by the Zonta Clubs of La Salle-Peru, Ottawa and Streator, with Streator serving as host this year. Streator Zontaian co-chairs for the event are Club President Mara Rubio-Moore and Cara Luckey-Reynolds. The event is free and open to the public.
Participants are asked to assemble in Heritage Park at 6 p.m. with the walk beginning at approximately 6:15 p.m. The route will cover a few downtown city blocks and end at More on Main. Participants are invited to More on Main to hear guest speakers and enjoy refreshments following the walk. Individuals need not walk to attend the speakers’ presentations.
At More on Main, a display from the former ADV (Now Safe Journeys) Clothes Line Project as well as paintings by survivors of domestic violence will be displayed. Participation in the event is open to everyone. In addition to the local Zonta Club members, several Streator High School clubs and students from the IVCC Human Services Organization will participate.
Scheduled speakers include the director of Safe Journeys (previously ADV/SAS), an attorney prosecuting in the domestic division at the LaSalle County State’s Attorney’s office, as well as a survivor of domestic violence. Information about the walk can also be found at the Zonta Club of Streator Facebook page and on the Facebook Event Page Domestic Violence Awareness Luminary.
Another way in which the Zonta Clubs of LaSalle-Peru, Ottawa and Streator work to support victims of domestic violence also is through their “Buckets of Love” campaign held each fall. The clubs collect items to donate to the local domestic violence shelter to support those leaving the shelter and entering new households. The clubs ask patrons who are doing their regular weekend shopping to choose one or two items from a provided list to purchase and donate to the cause. Items included on the list are basic cleaning and hygiene products that women take with them into their new homes to make for an easier transition into their new residence.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month evolved from the first Day of Unity observed in October 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The intent of the observance was to connect battered women with advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children. The Day of Unity soon became a special week when a range of activities were conducted at the local, state and national levels.
These activities were as varied and diverse as the program sponsors but had common themes: mourning those who have died because of domestic violence, celebrating those who have survived, and connecting with those who work to curb the violence.
In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed. In 1989, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month Commemorative legislation was passed by the U.S. Congress. Such legislation has passed very year since with NCADV providing key leadership in this effort.
“Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women” is a Zonta International campaign to raise awareness of and increase actions to end violence against women and girls around the world.
The campaign, which began in November 2012, features the service and advocacy actions of Zonta clubs and districts to prevent and end violence against women and girls in their local communities. It also highlights Zonta International’s ongoing efforts to end violence against women and girls through the Zonta International Strategies to End Violence against Women (ZISVAW) program and through Zonta’s partnerships with the United Nations and its agencies.
The goal of the campaign is to increase advocacy efforts to prevent and end violence against women and girls, locally and globally through actions undertaken by Zonta clubs, areas and districts worldwide.
Zonta is an international organization composed of 29,000 members in 63 countries working together to improve the lives of women and girls. Learn more at zontasaysno.com or zonta.org.