To all Members of WAVE, my friends who are committed to ending violence -
How do I tell y'all who I am in a way that will help you understand how
grateful I am that you have all chosen to join with us in this mission to
change the world?
To do this, I need to explain that because of WAVE and because of the
recent great tragedy in my life, I feel even stronger about the need to
find a way to stop the wrongs of the world than I did when I joined George
in this mission to create world pleace.
Three years ago, if someone had asked me if violence had a direct role in
my life, I would have responded with a firm "No!" Since then, however, my
eyes have been opened and I realize that all lives are affected by
violence, and no-one is immune.
The first thing that happened was that one of my dearest friends admitted
to me that her husband had tried to kill her. I then helped her find refuge
in a shelter for battered women in a community about an hour's drive from
ours, because there was no place for her to go nearby.
Then, my mother told me that she, too, had lived in a battered women's
shelter in Atlanta when she was married to a man who had nearly killed her.
Realizing that my mother and friend could not be unique, I started a move
to get a safe shelter for battered women and their children in my community
by forming an organization called Halcyon Home. Now, two years later, we
have several programs operating to offer services to victims of domestic
violence and sexual assault, and we are on the verge of raising the money
to finally get the facility in operation.
From birth, I knew I was born to be a teacher; I have taught fifth grade
now for about 23 years. This personal involvement, however, has helped me
realize that there is a greater mission out there for me somewhere, and I
think it has to do with teaching others the value of a non-violent approach
I felt compelled to join WAVE because I believed so stronly it the mission
it has adopted.
Recently, however, on August 7th, 1996, my daughter, Arlyn, age 18,
committed the most violent act possible. She committed suicide; she shot
herself in the head. It was the greatest shock of my life; I had no idea
her life was in turmoil.
Here I was, the strongest advocate for ending violence in my community, and
my own daughter turned violently against herself, shattering my life with
After Arlyn died, I learned that a key factor in her downfall was that she
had been date-raped a few years ago. I learned she had felt guilty for the
rape, even feared that she would burn in hell forever for what had
happened, and that this fear and shame had turned inward, starting her on
the road to self-destruction.
Because of my child's tragedy, I feel even more compelled to be part of
this wonderful WAVE movement to end violence in the world.
Too many people are hurting and suffering needlessly; too many people are
victims who take out their pain on the rest of the world. It seems to me
that violence is escalating at an astounding speed, and that someone must
stop talking about how bad things are and take action, and we are all
remiss if we have the opportunity to help bring about peace and we turn it
I am excited about WAVE and its potential. I realize we may fumble and
flounder, but the deep sense of committment I have felt from George, and
the admiration and respect I have for all of you who have become part of
the group, is profound.
I wish you all peace.
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