Monday, October 5, 2015

Office of the Sheriff’s “Purple Light Nights®” Lighting Ceremony Shines

Upper Marlboro, MD… The Prince George’s County Office of the Sheriff and its Domestic Violence Intervention Division (DVID) hosted the “Purple Light Nights®” Lighting Ceremony last Thursday night, October 1st, to mark the start of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, in a crowd of citizens and partners undeterred by the weather. The “Purple Light Nights®” ceremony has become an annual event since the Office of the Sheriff launched the project in Maryland in 2014, adding Prince George’s County and the state of Maryland to the national project as a partner with other cities and counties in 30 states, and in Canada and 18 villages in Guam. Guests were given a purple lightbulb to shine on their porch or in their window during the month of October to signify the county’s unified voice against domestic violence.

Introduced by Mistress of Ceremony Lt. Col. Regina Taylor, Sheriff’s Office Bureau Chief Field Operations who leads the Domestic Violence Intervention Division, Sheriff High began his remarks by saying, “Those of us who work to rid our community of domestic violence know one thing for sure – that domestic violence has no place in our community.” That theme resonated throughout the program as domestic violence partners from agencies and organizations throughout the county spoke to guests.

This year’s “Purple Light Nights®” Guest Partner, the Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Center at Dimensions Healthcare at Prince George’s Hospital Center, was represented by the Center’s Coordinator Karalyn Mulligan – the evening’s keynote speaker – who spoke about the Center’s work and about her experiences working with victims. Other speakers included Betty Hagar Francis, DCAO for Health & Human Services, and Education, who outlined the progress and collaboration between agencies on domestic violence, Judge Cathy Serrette who provided an update on the opening of the Family Justice Center – a one-stop center to assist victims of domestic violence, and Judge Lisa Hall Johnson, chair of the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council.

Congresswoman Donna Edwards, who founded the National Network to End Domestic Violence long before she became a member of Congress, spoke about the lack of services available to victims when she began her work, specifically noting, the progress that has been made in Prince George’s County due to strong leadership and cooperation.

Jerry Pasternak, Region Vice President from Pepco, this year’s “Purple Light Nights®” presenting sponsor said that safety is a core value and top priority for Pepco. On supporting “Purple Light Nights®”, Mr. Pasternak said, “…we train our employees about not only the hazards of working on an electric grid but also the impacts of Intimate Partner Violence on women, children, and families -- both at home and in the workplace. That training includes awareness of the problem, recognizing behaviors of concern, and responding appropriately.” Pepco’s support as presenting sponsor enabled the Office of the Sheriff to provide hundreds of lightbulbs to citizens.

“I want “Purple Light Nights®” to be a model for change like “Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Brady Campaign against gun violence,” said Sheriff High. “We have to be bold in our initiatives if we’re going to make a difference in the lives of victims and persons at risk of domestic violence and the healing of families.”

Early in the program, Lt. Col. Taylor recognized other partners who have joined the “Purple Light Nights®” community campaign by lighting up their facilities, including twelve municipalities that included: Berwyn Heights, Bladensburg, Bowie, Brentwood, Capitol Heights, Colmar Manor, Greenbelt, Hyattsville, Landover Hills, Riverdale Park, Seat Pleasant, University Park and Upper Marlboro. Other partners include the Prince George’s County Police Department, Fire/EMS, Bowie State University, Prince George’s Community College and University of Maryland, Dimensions Healthcare System and Carrollton Enterprises. “We look forward to our partnership growing even more this month and next year,” said Lt. Col. Taylor.

The Domestic Violence Intervention Division (DVID) is hosting a series of information exchanges throughout the county in October and participating in events with other partners and closing the month with a partnership luncheon on October 28th at the Newton White Mansion. Look for the weekly schedule of events. They will continue to distribute lightbulbs while supplies last.

DVID October Schedule of Events:

Tue. - October 6th - Forestville/Penn Mar Shopping Center 5:00pm-6:00pm, Quarterly DVCC Meeting
Fri. - October 9th - Suitland Metro Information Exchange 7:00am-9:00am
Tue. - October 13th- Largo Town Center Information Exchange – 7:00 am – 9:00 am
Wed. - October 14th - Interfaith DV Coalition
Tue. - October 16st - Addison Road Metro Information Exchange 7:30 am – 9:00 am
Sat. - October 17st - Family Strong Experience (State’s Attorney Office)- First Baptist Church of Glenarden 5:00pm-8:00pm
Tue. - October 20st - Silver Hill Shopping Center (Giant) 5:00pm-6:00pm
Thu. - October 22st - Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence Annual Meeting & Awards Dinner
Fri. - October 23st - Branch Avenue Metro 7:00 am-9:00am
Sat. - October 24th- Cooking Gents Against Domestic Violence - Super Chapter Community Center 2:00pm-5:00pm
Tue. - October 27st - Penn Station Shopping Center 5:00pm-6:00pm
Wed. - October 28th – Sheriff DVID Partnership Luncheon, Newton White Mansion 11:00 am – 3:00 pm


For more information contact the Communications and Public Affairs Division at 301-780-7354.


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