Facta non verba -“deeds, not words.” — Jim O’Neil

Over the weekend of June 11 – 13, 2010, I served as a junior member of what has become “Team Awesome” led by Eric Greene that wrote the new website for RESPOND, the first dometic violence agency in New England and the second in the nation.

Jessica Brayden, RESPOND’s Executive Director writes, “During this time of economic crisis when individuals face unprecedented struggles and many nonprofits have been forced to close their doors, RESPOND is rising to the challenge to meet a sharp increase in the demand for emergency services.  We are able to be here day and night to assist all survivors of abuse and their children because of community leaders like GiveCamp and the volunteers that have been there for us.”

Each year, RESPOND honors an outstanding individual or group that has drawn local or national attention to the issue of domestic violence, leveraging their public voice to encourage dialogue and promote awareness. The overwhelming response to the website when it went live inspired the Board of Directors and staff of RESPOND to honor GiveCamp New England, specifically Jim O’Neil, Kelley Muir and the Development Team of Eric Greene, Justin Babey, George Babey, and Evelyn Livant, with RESPOND’s 2010 Timothy White “Take a Stand” Award.

The award will be given to the team at this year’s historic 36th anniversary gala celebration, RESPONDing to Domestic Violence, on October 22, 2010 at the Boston Harbor Hotel. Shayna Seymour of WCVB-TV’s “Chronicle” will be serving as Host and Mistress of Ceremonies. The event is open to the public and more information is available at the website: Gala or through Jessica Brayden at: jessica@respondinc.org.

Timothy White was the editor-in-chief of Billboard from 1991 until his death at age 50 of a heart attack in 2002. (Please see footnote to Wikipedia). In a response to Eminem’s violent lyrics regarding domestic abuse, he urged readers to buy the RESPOND CD. Ironically, he was the subject of a line in one of Eminem’s songs: “Let me recite ’til Timothy White, pickets outside the Interscope offices everynight.” Maybe Mr. White chose to respond to Eminem’s feelings of being disenfranchised with this act of benevolence rather than disdain. Mr. White’s wife is always on hand to hand out the award—she is very proud to be connected with RESPOND.

Past awardees include:

  • Shawn MacMaster of the Middlesex DA’s office
  • Ron Bonney of Bonney Automotive for his contributions to assisting survivors with free emergency transportation
  • Lisa and Gabe Kapler (of the Red Sox)
  • Brett Butler, comedienne and survivor
  • Liz Claiborne, Inc. for their amazing work in the corporate sector developing replicable domestic violence HR policy and national awareness campaign
  • Leslie Halpern, dental surgeon, the 2009 awardee who has dedicated much of her career to working with survivors, researching the impact of domestic violence on oral health, and developing domestic violence screening tools for the medical community.

If I had listened to Eminem’s songs when he first came out, I would have been one of the picketers. I thought it was worthless trash. Until people more open-minded than myself paid attention to it. When his movie, 8 Mile, began receiving critical acclaim I was intrigued. From my safe vantage point in the world, I could not imagine what value lay in such a barbaric individual. As I watched 8 Mile I was moved. I found that people in Eminem’s world were not so different than the people in my world. I found great value in his music and my heart went out to those struggling to live life in such brutal conditions.

It is not always the obvious victims that suffer from domestic violence. Victims of domestic violence come from all walks of life. The problem of violence is not in the circumstances. The problem of violence lies with us. “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.” Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141). The stereotypes of the poor make for the convenient target of our cultural disdain. After all, what can one expect? Eminem has shown us that one can expect a lot.

Facta non verba.