Thanks for choosing respect on March 31

Posted: Sunday, April 18, 2010

On March 31, Gov. Sean Parnell created an opportunity for Alaskans across the state to stand up and speak out about Alaska's epidemic rates of domestic violence and sexual assault. In Juneau, AWARE partnered with the Governor's Office and hundreds of people who marched and rallied from the steps of the Capitol to Marine Park, all of us Alaskans Choosing Respect. This would not have been possible without the work of many many people choosing respect that day, and for weeks preceding.

AWARE thanks Wal-Mart for their generous donation which enabled hundreds of helium balloons and posters for the event, thanks to JDHS students and students of Nancy Seamount's health classes who painted the posters, and Mitch Falk of Bullwinkle's Pizza for their in-kind donation. We greatly appreciate the fine work of Gareth Jones and the Department of Administration crew for hanging the banners at the Capitol, Tanci Mintz , Department of Administration, and the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities printing shop.

For their presence at the Capitol Steps, we are grateful to Mayor Bruce Botelho, Representative Anna Fairclough, ANDVSA E.D. Peggy Brown, Deputy Attorney General Rick Svobodny, Chief of Police Greg Browning, Fire Chief Eric Mohrmann, Bishop Edward Burns, Pastor Mike Rose, and President Bill Martin, Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. For their presence at the march, we thank Woosh.ji.een dancers (Lyle James), All Nations Children Dancers (Vicki Soboleff), Ati-Atihan group (Filipino dance group/Ed Carrillo), and Steve "Shiner" Burkhouse and the Southeast Alaska Panhandlers Motorcycle Club.

For march support and support at Marine Park, we thank the Juneau School District, the City Manager's Office, Kathy Underwood at JPD, Juneau Douglas High School for sound equipment, Goldbelt Corporation for sound equipment at Marine Park, and community volunteers Ginger Johnson , Renda Heimbigner , and Kelly Pusich. Thanks to Pat Shea, General Manager, Super Bear for the cake and to The Alaska String Band (Zahasky Family) for the lively music.

Thank you to AWARE staff Ati Nasiah and Kristina Zuidema. A special thank you to Staci Ignell, who worked tirelessly to bring the details of this event to fruition. Lastly, we thank Sandy, Rachel and Grace Parnell, and Governor Sean Parnell for calling on all Alaskans, women and men, to reflect on how we interact in our relationships, the choices we make and the impacts they have.

Thanks for your commitment to AWARE and our mission. AWARE's ability to work with survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, to work with perpetrators in our batterer accountability program, and our community prevention efforts are greatly enhanced by Juneau's community support. Together we are working towards a community of zero tolerance for interpersonal violence, where we can all live in peace and freedom, where we can all choose respect.

Saralyn Tabachnick

Executive director, AWARE


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