Gaylord Athletes Take the White Ribbon Pledge
Gaylord, MI, 12-21-17… On Thursday December 20, 2017 the Gaylord High School Wrestling and Varsity Boys Basketball teams made the White Ribbon Pledge. “I pledge not to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls. From this day forward, I promise to be part of the solution to end all forms of this violence.”
Now a worldwide campaign active in over sixty countries, the White Ribbon Pledge was penned in 1991 by a group of Toronto men. They recognized that the majority of men do not cause violence against women. However, it is the responsibility of all men to step up, speak out and take action against violence. The campaign seeks to promote healthy relationships, gender equity and a compassionate vision of masculinity. Megan King of the Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan (WRCNM) urged Gaylord athletes to use their visible role to help make positive social change by leading with respect. In addition to leading the young men in the white ribbon pledge, she began by explaining the origins of the White Ribbon Pledge and shared two short videos. The first featured the Red Riots high school basketball team in Maine who chose, “not be defined by the strength of our arms and legs, but rather by the strength of our character.” The second White Ribbon video featured professional football players from the Toronto Argonauts who say, “it’s about leading by example both on and off the field.”
Amber Theriault, Zonta Club of Gaylord Area President followed King’s presentation by asking the athletes to not add to, nor remain silent to, off color jokes or boasting of conquests. Rather help make a cultural shift by saying, “Hey that’s not cool. We are athletes, we hold ourselves to a higher standard.” Another suggestion was, “The men I look up to treat women with respect.” Theriault asked the student athletes to recognize classmates who show respect. Taking a page from the Coaching Boys to Men program, she challenged, “Your commitment to respect is also a responsibility. Defend it. Share it.”
Zonta member and President of the WRCNM Board of Directors, Cherie Nutter closed with the goal of keeping our local young athletes from making gender biased slurs like those that have recently stripped many Hollywood leaders of their careers. She encouraged the students to learn from those highly publicized mistakes by showing all women and girls respect. Gaylord area coaches looking to bring the White Ribbon Pledge to their team may contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Coaches may download the Coaching Boys to Men program from www.WRCNM.org.
“Our Team Says NO” comes on the heels of the 16 Days Campaign featuring local men who stepped forward to add their name to the Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women Campaign. Visit the Zonta Club of Gaylord Area’s Facebook Page to see images of Gaylord’s men who #SayNO. The United Nations urged collaborators to “Orange the World” (25 November through 10 December) to break the silence and help transform the culture of gender-based violence. Zonta Clubs around the world helped “orange” iconic bridges, buildings and monuments, hosted movie screenings, set up community displays and more. The Zonta Club of Gaylord Area meets 5:30 PM the second Mondays every month. Anyone interested in membership is encouraged to contact email@example.com.
Having served our community for over forty years, the Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan is respected as a strong voice for women, children and families. The WRCNM works to promote social change through various community outreach programs. This week Megan King has been speaking to Gaylord High School Health Classes about maintaining healthy relationships. To contribute or learn more visit www.WRCNM.org. The WRCNM local 24-Hour Crisis hotline number serves women escaping abuse 1-800-275-1995. Through this number victims find help, connect with the Safe Home, counseling and advocacy resources.
Nov. 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, to Dec. 10, Human Rights Day, the Zonta Cub of Gaylord Area, USA, is highlighting the goals and programs of the Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan as well as the goals of Zonta International.
This year, the Zonta Club of Gaylord Area will support “Men Say No” by featuring 16 men, one on each day of the campaign. They will appear on the Zonta Club of Gaylord Facebook page. They are community leaders, businessmen, husbands, fathers, brothers and sons who are taking a public stand to help raise awareness and prevent dating violence, sexual assault and all domestic violence.
The Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan (WRCNM) makes it a priority to engage men. The WRCNM’s 100 Men Campaign addresses the belief that all men play an important role in raising funds for awareness. They also take a public stand to eliminating domestic violence.
The Zonta Club of Gaylord Area also supports “Coaching Boys into Men,” which recognizes the important role of coaches as they inspire young athletes to become men of empathy, respect and dignity. The program offers workshops and an online course for coaches. The Zonta club has sponsored one presentation for a local athletic team and seeks to contact other schools to sponsor more.
The club has also set up collection boxes, which are decorated with Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women signs and statistics, for the WRCNM’s Safe Home.
‘Washing Away Violence Against Women’
The Zonta Club of Gaylord Area makes handmade soap to raise funds for Zonta International projects. Our slogan, “Washing away violence against women”, raises awareness of the plight of many women around the world who are subject to physical and sexual abuse.
The soap is made from a variety of oils and leaves your skin feeling soft and supple. One long-time user commens that she no longer needs to use body lotion as the soap keeps her skin smooth and moisturized.
Current scents available are: Lemon, Orange and New Mown Hay.
Cost: 6 Bars for $25.00 (includes shipping) payable through PayPal – firstname.lastname@example.org
Empowers Sexual Assault Survivors
The Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan is partnering with the University Center Gaylord and the Zonta Club of Gaylord to host a Clothesline Project display during April at the University Center Gaylord. The display coincides with National Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
The visual display consists of more than 40 t-shirts designed by local survivors of sexual assault and domestic abuse. The shirts are a creative way for survivors to explore the power of their unique voices, tell their stories and for the community to bear witness to this extraordinary, enlightening and empowering process.
The Clothesline Project began in 1990 on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to focus attention on the pervasive issue of violence against women and has since become a worldwide campaign with an estimated 500 projects nationally and internationally involving about 50,000 to 60,000 t-shirts.
“The shirts represented in this local Clothesline Project display represent each person’s personal experience with violence,” said Chris Krajewski, domestic abuse and sexual assault program director at the WRCNM. “The messages are so impactful because they are raw and so brutally honest they take your breath away. The shirts show the pain, fear and anger that survivors experience, as well as hope and healing.”
The Clothesline Project display will be available for public viewing and reflection during the month of April at the University Center Gaylord.
For more information about the Clothesline Project or programs and services available to survivors of domestic abuse, sexual assault, child abuse or child sexual assault contact the Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan at (231) 347-0067. A 24-hour crisis and information line is also available at (231) 347-0082 or (800) 275-1995 for long distance callers