On October 27, as part of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the BMCC Women’s Resource Center sponsored the 12th Annual Walk With Me: Domestic Violence Silent Procession at 199 Chambers Street.
The walk began with a gathering of faculty, students and staff in Richard Harris Terrace, and a presentation in which Deborah Parker, Director of the BMCC Women’s Resource Center, gave opening remarks. “Today we give voice to the voiceless,” she said. “After every walk, we have at least one person step forward to seek help with a domestic violence situation.”
BMCC’s Chief Diversity Officer Odelia Levy explained that “Domestic violence doesn’t discriminate. It affects people of all sexual orientations, races and religions. Events like this start a conversation, and that’s how change begins.”
BMCC students also participated in the event sharing their views and observations on the subject of domestic violence.
Jason Silva, President of the BMCC Student Government Association, commented that “this room has more men than women, and what’s what I like to see, because domestic violence is an issue that affects us all.”
Student veteran Josephine Fields-Hinds shared her experience of living with domestic violence, and said, “It’s about control. It’s a monster that has many faces and takes many forms."
BMCC President Antonio Pérez shared his personal experience with the audience. “No one is immune from domestic violence,” he said, and told of getting a call in the middle of the night from one of his sisters, who was the victim of domestic violence. “She asked me to come get her,” Pérez said, “but not everyone has someone who can go pick them up, and take them to a safe place.”
At BMCC, said President Pérez, “We have a responsibility to educate people who have been violent, as well as those who are the victims of violence.” He also talked about the importance of teaching children to respond to frustration and anger in productive ways.
The procession began with participants taking escalators to the seventh floor and then back down to the main lobby. They carried placards that declared, You Are Not Alone and other messages, and children from the BMCC Early Childhood Center walked with staff who held signs covered in hand prints announcing, Hands Are Not for Hitting.
National Domestic Violence Month at BMCC concluded October 27, with two events following the silent procession; a lecture, What is Rape Culture? and a panel presentation on domestic violence, both held in Richard Harris Terrace.