The MSV Ally Breakfast on February 25 was a pivotal moment in the history of our work to end violence against women. It was small – 20 men. It was a quiet event, held at Canoe on the Chattahoochee – not where one might expect social change to occur.
What made it an Important Moment was the energy of the men in the room. We had reached the tipping point and attendees were excited about coming to future breakfasts, wanted to meet more often, and were brainstorming about ways to get other men involved. Why? Because the breakfast offered a safe place in which to talk about relationships with women that are based on equality, and the difficulties they all faced in trying to be a different kind of partner.
Harold Dawson, Jr., one of the co-chairs, joined attendees in sharing his own experience working hard to be a great dad to his three children. George McKerrow, also a co-chair, talked about the importance of growing the group, asking each man to be responsible for bringing a friend to the next event.
Ulester Douglas, Director of Training, and Sulaiman Nuriddin, Director of Men’s Education, led the group in an educational exercise, followed by a group discussion that primarily focused on the function of abuse and violence. The men in attendance also found room to raise related issues of importance to them.
Why was this a pivotal moment? We know that violence against women will end when men of influence take a private and public stand against it. The men who attended the breakfast are leaders in their communities. Together they are in a position to make a difference, if they continue to grow and exhibit the commitment and passion demonstrated on February 25.