Queens College held an event at which City University of New York (CUNY) members and alumni were invited to a stand and pledged to join the global, “Men Working to End Men’s Violence Against Women,” white ribbon campaign
The event was held on Wednesday, April 6, where men who participated in the event repeated in front of the audience a pledge administered by Joyce Smith, assistant district attorney from the Queen’s district attorney’s office.
Queens College president James Muyskens was the first to vow, “Never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women.”
Honorees received white ribbon pins, given to them by a domestic violence survivor, and afterwards signed a book of commitments that will be available for men to sign until April 6, 2012. Some men in the audience stood and took the pledge as well.
The campaign began in Canada in 1991 when a group of men urged others to take action regarding domestic violence against women and chose a white ribbon as their symbol.
“Through events like this one, men can gain understanding and have some education about this campaign and then respond and act on it,” said Frank Sanchez, CUNY Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, who also took the pledge at the event. “I welcome the opportunity to join this cause and I’m happy to do so.”
The event was held in connection with the Queens College’s program “Women and Work,” which has taught over 400 women annually about life management skills and economic empowerment.
“Violence against women has been one of the longest wars, the greatest epidemics and the biggest disasters,” said Carmella Marrone, executive director and founder of Women and Work. “This is our chance to raise awareness on a daily basis, to mentor a community of men and enable them to foster the anti-violence against-women movement.”
Yolanda B. Jimenez, commissioner for the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, spoke at the event about the importance of men and women coming together to talk and act against domestic violence.
“People think it only happens to somebody else, that it never happens in their community and that it’s only a women’s issue,” said Jimenez. “But talking about it will make the difference and to have men join the effort is a very powerful thing – silence can only kill and make a situation worse.”