Langston Walker and Bernard Ellis, along with 9 other MSV allies, attended the breakfast and lobby day at the capital. They visited their elected representatives to encurage them to support legislation to end domestic violence.
Georgia is ranked 10th in the nation for the murder rate of women by men. Georgia Governor Nathan Deal proposed cutting state funding for domestic violence and sexual assault centers by $4.5 Million and replacing it with federal funds from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Federal restrictions with TANF may not allow using the funding for operational expenses or for services such as those provided to single women without children who make up about one-third of Georgia’s domestic violence victims. Using TANF funding for shelters perpetuates the stereotype that only poor women are victims of violence. Domestic Violence advocates are concerned and decided to take the opportunity to let their legislators know about their concern. On February 3, 2011 over 200 advocates and concerned citizens met at the capitol for the 12th annual Stop the Violence Against Women Lobby Day. The lobby was sponsored by the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Georgia Commission on Family Violence, the Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault, Men Stopping Violence, RAKSHA and Caminar Latino.
Celebrity spokesperson Chri$tyle spoke at the breakfast that kicked off the event. She shared her story about domestic abuse as a child which encouraged her to start the campaign “Be the Voice”. Her campaign helps to highlight the issues and impact of abuse to make more people aware of domestic violence and abuse in the community. Following the breakfast, the participants walked across the street to the west entrance of the Capitol to make their voices heard by elected representatives. Individuals stood in lines for an opportunity to share their concerns face to face with their legislators.
MSV staffer, Bernard Ellis, Langston Walker, and 10 other MSV allies represented Men Stopping Violence’s support of the advocates educating legislators about violence against women. MSV, an organization focused on social change to end abuse, strongly believes that social change will take place when current social and cultural messages along with supporting legislation promoting the domination of women is eradicated. Having a voice in legislation affecting women’s rights is critical to the long term success of ending violence against women and girls. The lobby day represents another history making event toward creating safer communities.”