For Immediate Release: October 29, 2009 Contact: Suzanne Cecala | Suzanne.Cecala@opdv.ny.gov | 518.457.5744
Businesses, government, non-profit organizations across New York State embrace “Shine the Light on Domestic Violence” initiative in OctoberEmpire State Building, other prominent structures glowed purple to raise awareness
In a show of unity in the fight against domestic violence, more than 110 different entities across New York State – non-profit service providers, private businesses, churches, universities, tourist attractions, chambers of commerce, television and radio stations, state, county and local government agencies, law enforcement, task forces and coalitions, and retail stores – joined with domestic violence survivors and elected officials throughout October to “show their purple” during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Purple is the symbolic color for domestic violence awareness and the cornerstone of the state’s “Shine the Light on Domestic Violence” public awareness effort, which was spearheaded by the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV) for the second consecutive year.
Governor David A. Paterson said: “Abuse needs darkness to thrive. That is why we shine the light on domestic violence and stand united in the fight against it. We want to reignite the flame of freedom, in purple, for victims of domestic violence. And we must continue to pass the legislation that better protects victims, holds offenders accountable and make education a central part of prevention.”
Landmarks across the state were bathed in purple light, among them: Niagara Falls and the Peace Bridge in Western New York, the Empire State Building and 7 World Trade Center in New York City, the Alfred E. Smith Building in Albany, and the historic Whiteface Mountain fire tower in the Adirondack Park.
Smaller communities participated in creative ways. Downtown Seneca Falls painted a purple stripe and stenciled anti-domestic violence slogans along the sidewalks, as shop owners distributed fliers with information about domestic violence and available services. Schoharie County highlighted the entrances to their towns with purple flag displays, banners – even a snowplow in purple – and police cars and public transportation vehicles sported purple magnetic ribbons.
New York State Deputy Secretary for Public Safety Denise E. O’Donnell said: “I would like to commend the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and its partners throughout the state that joined together this month to ‘Shine the Light on Domestic Violence.’ As purple lights shined on landmarks across the state, they served as a reminder to all New Yorkers that every one of us can play a role in fighting domestic violence and the terrible toll it takes on families – particularly women – and the community.”
OPDV Executive Director Amy Barasch said: “The participation in this statewide call to action has been humbling. Well over a hundred organizations did their part to spread awareness of domestic violence. Each purple light, flag and pin sent a message. It got people talking and thinking. One private sector partner said he hopes that people who see the lights he shone throughout his building will know that he and the rest of the community stand together against domestic violence, and that they recognize and support those who have been victimized.”
“The Shine the Light on Domestic Violence campaign has been a success and an inspiration,” said Patti Jo Newell, acting chief executive officer of the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, which supported the initiative. “From big events and renowned landmarks to smaller gestures and neighborhood venues, New York reflected awareness and unity regarding domestic violence. Our hope, now, is that that awareness and unity will translate to commitment and action throughout the rest of the year. There is much to be done, and all of it is doable.”
Additional events in support of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in New York State included:
- On Oct. 14, much of the state workforce wore purple to promote awareness of domestic violence.
- A cell phone drive at all state agencies is underway in partnership with Verizon Wireless, with proceeds to benefit victims in New York State.
- All marked New York State Police cars will be displaying a “Stop Domestic Violence” bumper sticker.
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline recognized New York State’s lighting of the Empire State Building in purple as one of the top three inspirational events in the United States.
The New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence is a state agency charged with improving the response to and prevention of domestic violence through policy and legislation, increasing public awareness and training professionals.
- Victims of domestic violence, family and friends can get help by calling the New York State Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline: English and other languages: 1-800-942-6906
- Spanish language: 1-800-942-6908