In an effort to provide victims and survivors of gender based and domestic violence and various other mental health pathology, with requisite tools,a number of Caribbean American community service organizations have banded together to launch a panel discussion series themed ‘Saving Lives, Empowering People’. The series begins on February 15th at 9am, at Faith Assembly Church, 113-20 101 Avenue, Queens, NYC, USA on the topic of ‘Safety and Protection for Abused Victims’. The organizers also plan to launch this series in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Barbados, St. Vincent and Jamaica later this year.
Presentations at the New York panel discussion would include: Queens NYPD DV Unit – a safety plan as well as the role of the police in protecting and making victims safe; Christine Perumal, Esq., Safe Horizon – legal options available to victims; Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender Based Violence – gov’t options at the city, state and federal levels to facilitate safety and protection for victims as well as support; Pastor EjazNabie – the role of religious institutions and faith based leaders in making victims safe and protected and in offering support services; psychologist, Dr. Sharla Khargi – relationship safety, including emphatic communication and keeping children safe.
In addition to Faith Assembly Church, The Caribbean Voice and SADHANA are partnering in this initiative. According to Annan Boodram, President of The Caribbean Voice, “While building awareness is important, it is generally a reactive measure that is not solutions oriented. After years of engagement in suicide and abuse prevention in the Caribbean and the US, we finally decided that in addition to awareness building, counseling and after the fact supports, we also needed to explore ways of providing victims and survivors with pragmatic and implemental tools that they can use to create safety and protection for themselves and others”.
Guyanese born Dr. Taj Rajkumar succeeded in bringing Pastor Ejaz Nabie and Faith Assembly Church as partners in this anti-violence project. Pastor Nabie indicated that his church is a partner in the series because he believes that “a church should provide wrap around services to its community and they had already started that journey”.
Aminta Khilawan, Esq., of Sadhana stated, “A heavy question someone experiencing gender-based violence has to grapple with as they consider leaving their abuser is how to do so safely and with a support system behind them. Too often, the odds feel stacked up against that possibility. And too often, we ourselves, intentionally or unintentionally, can be part of the problem…we all know someone experiencing gender-based violence, but not all of us are equipped with the immediate resources to appropriately help that person come up with a safety plan.
”The panel discussion series, which is expected to continue over the next three years, is supported by New York Assembly Member David Weprin, Jahajee Sisters, the NYPD, Thrive New York, NYC Mayor’s Office to end Domestic and Gender Based Violence, Safe Horizons, NYC Health, City Council Candidate Dimple Willabus, NY State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NYSCADV) and psychologist Dr. Sharla Khargi. The organizers are inviting other NGOs, CSOs, faith based institutions and individuals to come on board as they plan to use the video from each panel discussion for mass distribution and to work with others to enable the information accessed nationally.
The Caribbean Voice currently is engaged in abuse and suicide prevention in several Caribbean countries and within the Caribbean Diaspora in America since 2014.
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