SINCE 1989, October has been designated as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month or DVAM in this country when the United States Congress passed public law 101-112. The occasion calls for communities to come together to mourn those who died in domestic violence situations, celebrate the healing of survivors, and applaud the work of advocates, educators and their allies for prevention and intervention.
For the first known time since the designation of the 10th month as a time to raise awareness of the issue, a Filipino American organization received proclamation of the occasion from two cities in San Mateo County.
Nonprofit ALLICE Alliance for Community Empowerment had the dual honor of accepting both the proclamation of its 20th Anniversary and of DVAM from the Town of Colma on Wednesday, Oct. 11.
Two weeks earlier on Sept. 27 the City of South San Francisco had invited ALLICE to accept their proclamation of DVAM.
ALLICE 2023 vice president Jennifer Jimenez Wong, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, received the proclamation from SSF Mayor Flor Nicolas, who happens to be ALLICE 2023 co-president.
“Every year, we have been recognizing October as Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention month for 36 years and I wish I could say that this will be the last because we have learned so much and intimate partner abuse is not happening anymore. In reality, this is not the case. We still need to continue to set aside a time more than ever to mourn the lives lost to domestic violence, celebrate the progress that has been made, and connect with others working to create change,” Nicolas explained the choice of proclamation recipient.
“In view of this, we requested one of the change makers in our community to receive the proclamation, ALLICE or Alliance for Community Empowerment. In its 20th year, ALLICE continues to dedicate itself to promoting healthier relationships, homes, and communities through education.”’
ALLICE and “South City” in fact have had a long history of collaboration.
The all-volunteer organization has held education presentations for the first time at a faith-based community at St. Augustine Church and thrice in Mater Dolorosa Church. They once gave a presentation at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center and twice at SSF Municipal Services Building, the last one as recently as this past June.
In March, Women’s History Month, the City Council hosted a presentation of the dynamics of family and intimate partner violence. The item was a first for the city, reflecting the forward vision of its FilAm leader.
“We are elated to receive the proclamation from South San Francisco,” said Jimenez Wong. “We thank Mayor Nicolas and the City Council for this honor that we share with our ALLICE family of advocates and survivors. We look forward to growing our partnership to ensure free and accessible education for healthy relationships is available to its residents.”
This month the organization is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a private reception for its survivor speakers and diverse allies who have supported its mission to prevent violence through free education activities such as workshops and trainings for the community in general, businesses and providers.
“Everyone can help prevent family and intimate partner abuse,” said founding president Bettina Santos Yap. “The first step is to learn about the issue – why and how it happens. And that’s what we do at ALLICE. Always for and with love.”
(Philippine News Today Executive Editor Cherie M. Querol Moreno is founder-executive director of ALLICE)