The Center Against Domestic Violence is the umbrella organization to three domestic violence residences one of which is Women’s Survival Space. On October 29, 2008, Sue Rock Originals Everyone, Inc. collected all of our donations and caravaned them over to Women’s Survival Space for their annual commemoration for the residents of their facility. It was an amazing and powerful event (pics will be posted soon!). I want to take a moment to gratefully thank some wonderful men and women without whom this would not be possible. First I would like to thank my husband Babafemi who with amazing patience and overarching enthusiasm is the driver, IT tech, message taker, co-director and consoler throughout this whole process!! (and he can COOK too!) Next is the amazing Chief of Domestic Violence at the Family Justice Center located in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, Ms. Deirdre Biallo-Padin. Not only is she a silversmith extraordinaire, but she encouraged FIVE of her staff to come on board to assist in creating beautiful items for the women of Women’s Survival Space. Next there is Jenny Femia and her cousin Brandy Mui. These women are cable stitchers who can knit their butts off with beautiful cowls and shrugs – YEA YOU!!!. Ramona Kearns came back this year with a matching wrap and hat set that disappeared in seconds. I would be remiss if I did not mention my cousin Pat Sweeting – in a beautiful connection that was stimulated by conversations about our ancestors, my cousin created innumerable scarves that were warm and functional (and she wondered why she had begun knitting scarves a few weeks before!) . Dr. Mary Ann Clark brought in the West Coast flavor with wonderful scarves from Colorado. And with the generous donation of Sofia Negron, we were able to transport all these items to the residence on Wednesday night.
Beginning with a solemn poem read by one of the administrators, the women attending heard of a woman who “received flowers today, even though it was not my birthday, or mother’s day”. As the poem was read, the reader walked through the dining tables slowly recounting ever growing tales of abuse, which invariably ended with “and I received flowers today, even though it was not my birthday”. With each slap which grew to a hit, each kick that grew to being thrown, the reader continued “but I received flowers today….”. As she walked throughout the dining room, she got to the rear, where two assistants lifted a cloth revealing a coffin – at which point our reader stepped into the coffin and lying down, while sharing that she received flowers today, because today was the day of her funeral!
It was POWERFUL and there was not a dry eye!
She asked us all “Do YOU want to receive flowers today?”
We all responded – “NO!”
The evening was resplendent in Purple and White and the support and love directed through Director Hermine Bowens was felt throughout the evening. The event featured poetry, song, and children’s performances. And wonderful wonderful food.
Finally, our organization spoke to the women present about our experience creating this event and about the women and men involved in this work. Then we began fitting and styling the women of the residence with the beautiful sweaters, ponchos
At final count we had
3 full sweaters
5 mesh shrugs
4 hat sets with scarves
3 hat sets with wraps/purses
2 baby blankets
as well as over 200 assorted ceramics.
It was yet another amazing night. Wonderful for women and wonderful to see that hands, all hands can help to create change.