A recent study on violence shows that Georgia ranks 17th in the nation for domestic abuse. In Atlanta, statistics for child abduction and spousal abuse are alarming. One in three people endure an abusive or unhealthy relationship.
In southeast Atlanta’s Kirkwood community, Atlanta Boulevard Church heard the call for help and stepped in. Under the leadership of Harold Thomas III, pastor, the church held its 2017 “End It Now” campaign on August 12. End It Now is a global initiative to increase awareness of domestic violence, and mobilize Seventh-day Adventists worldwide in the fight to help end it.
The event, a 1.4-mile march from Atlanta Boulevard Church to Coan Park and back, presented an awesome opportunity for the members to connect with the community. Led by the Atlanta Boulevard Pathfinder Club, and accompanied by the thunderous sounds of the Decatur and West End Pathfinder Drum Corps, members and the community connected. Some members of the community marched, and others handed out water to marchers.
The day ended with a provocative and informative panel discussion moderated by JoAnn Farmer-Young, LPC, CAMS, of One Step Counseling Center, on “Dating and Teen Violence.” Guest panelists included church and community leaders Eddie Beal, Ph.D., psychiatrist; Selina Hansford, family law specialist; Rosa Lewis, advocate; Felicitee Love, victims advocate and author; Elouise Mitchell, director of Carrie-Steele-Pitts Home; Ruth Reeve, advocate; Lenora Ruff, Ph.D., advocate; and Carol Smith, advocate.
The panel discussion clearly established that awareness was just a first step in affecting change. The interest in, concern for, and desire to continue addressing ways to curb domestic abuse was inspiring. Motivated to do more, the members formed the Victory Support Group. This group, directed by JoAnn Farmer-Young, offers counseling and spiritual support to help domestic abuse victims, ages 17 and up, deal with the aftermath of the abuse.
South Atlantic | February 2018