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October Proclaimed Domestic Violence Awareness Month


City and county leaders, law enforcement officers, volunteers and staff members of The Haven of Northeast Arkansas gathered at the Walker Park gazebo on Monday morning for a proclamation ceremony in conjunction with Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The Haven's executive director Phyllis McClendon welcomed everyone to the ceremony in the park.

Throughout the years, the staff has gone from town to town throughout Mississippi County for proclamation signings. This year, the staff decided to bring the county and city officials together for a signing ceremony to kickoff Domestic Violence Awareness month. McClendon recognized the volunteers who work so hard throughout the year, the law officers who are always there when they need them and the staff.

Blytheville Mayor James Sanders also welcomed guests to Blytheville commending The Haven staff members for the work they do in shining a light on darkness that happens. He also thanked the volunteers, law enforcement, mayors and all of the support team.

The Haven Board President Lisa Jon Adams spoke briefly.

“It takes everyone,” Adams said. “We have come a long way. We have an active board and an active staff. Domestic violence is not a good topic but they put it on the table. Law enforcement officers will tell you domestic violence calls can be the toughest.”

Steven Savage, Mississippi County Public Affairs, represented County Judge John Alan Nelson, reading a proclamation proclaiming October Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Mississippi County.

Mayors reading proclamations for their towns included Blytheville Mayor Sanders; Joiner Mayor Sissie Winfred-Ross; Gosnell Mayor Teresa Walker; and Osceola Mayor Sally Wilson.

McClendon expressed her appreciation to local and county law enforcement agencies.

Mississippi County Sheriff Dale Cook praised the staff and volunteers of The Haven for doing an outstanding job.

“I know the ladies and their families appreciate them and the job they do,” Sheriff Cook said. “They are good people doing a good job.”

Blytheville Chief of Police Ross Thompson talked about the lives The Haven has helped since opening in the 1990s.

“Phyllis (McClendon) is the driving force,” he said. “Domestic violence is like giving someone a shovel and with each act of violence the victim is digging a hole that gets deeper and deeper. The Haven is the ladder to help them get out of that hole.”

McClendon announced the exhibits on loan in Mississippi County,The Clothesline Awareness Project and The Silent Witness Project. A few of the t-shirts form the Clotheslines Awareness project and one of the silhouettes were on display for the ceremony.

The Clothesline Awareness project includes over 250 t-shirts created in memory of individuals who have lost their lives to domestic violence in Arkansas. The exhibit will be on display Sept. 25-27 from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. at the Arkansas Northeastern College Adams/Vines Gallery. It is free to the public.

The Silent Witness Project was created for the state of Arkansas in 1997 and consists of life-sized plywood silhouettes painted red and black. Each represents victims whose lives were taken by domestic violence for the previous year and tells the names and personal stories. It will be on display Sept. 23-27 at Osceola City Hall from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily. It is free and open to the pubic.

Also the sixth annual 5K Run/walk will be held Oct. 5 starting at 8:30 a.m. at the Blytheville Bus Station with the path going through Main Street. For more information contact. Participants can register online or at the race on race day. Purple ribbons were distributed at the end of the ceremony.