About thirty years ago or so I ended my stint as the director of Bradley-Angle House, now Bradley-Angle, a shelter for abused women and their children. Today I attended the 40th anniversary celebration of that stalwart organization which now provides a phenomenal list of services to women, children, and men as well as to the LGBTQ communities. As I turned over the keys to my successor, I would never have dreamed that years later I would be in a room with 400+ supporters sharing in the story of Cheryl Strayed, noted author.
We were small but scrappy in the early 1980s. The shelter had gone through some gut wrenching difficulties nearly closing due to a lack of stable funding and some unfortunate administrative decisions that occurred before I took my job. Federal programs that supported our staffing disappeared as the political climate changed. At one point there were two paid employees running the emergency shelter (and I counted as one of them) and one paid staff managing our transitional facility. Thank goodness for our intrepid board and hardy volunteers as we kept the doors open and phones answered together.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month, October, is drawing to a close. But it is not too late to salute Bradley Angle and the shelters and programs across the United States who do so much to change the lives of women and families. There’s power in joining together to do good in the world. To quote a portion of a Marge Piercy poem:
Three people are a delegation,
a committee, a wedge. With four
you can play bridge and start
an organization. With six
you can rent a whole house,
eat pie for dinner with no
seconds, and hold a fund raising party.
A dozen make a demonstration.
A hundred fill a hall.
That was where we started and look where we ended up.
PS If you are affected by violence – physical, mental, emotional, or sexual – you can go to this website for help and information http://www.ncadv.org/