Will a Stolen Childhood Inspire a “Girl Rising”?

This was a face of innocence and trust.  She loves going to church, reading books, and playing with her cousins.  She had her dads eyes and his ability to steal your heart.  She stole my heart the moment she entered this world and I am just her Aunt.  We both now share a very open wound, she lost her father at the hands of someone she should have been able to trust, and I lost my beloved brother.  

Photo courtesy of Jessica Urgelles Photograpy

She is one of countless girls in our nation and around the world who had her innocence taken.  Could you image being 6 years old and having your father murdered by your step grandfather following a domestic violence altercation with your grandmother?  No girl should ever have to endure such  a heartbreak, and certainly not at such a tender age.  She dealt with her emotions with maturity beyond her years.  When I wanted to completely fall apart, I held it together for her.  We sat graveside in front of his casket.  We shared our goodbyes and I was heartbroken when she asked for me to kneel next to her to pray.  She prayed with passion and fervor, asking for God’s comfort and mercy.  

I prayed for healing.  I was so angry.  I lost my brother but my nieces had lost their father.  Would they remember him?  They would never remember his contagious laugh or his kind smile.  They had their childhood stolen, and I was powerless to stop it.  

Did you know that 1 in 4 women around the world will experience domestic violence in her lifetime?  The women of my family were robbed of a loved one by someone we should have been able to trust.  It would be easy to let grief, anger, and hate consume me.  I can’t let my brothers death be in vain.  I want his legacy to be of kindness, hope, and charity.  He lives on in the people who loved him, by our words and actions.  

My hope is that no one would ever need such a heartbreaking personal experience to inspire them.  We can draw our inspiration from the people around us, hear their stories, feel their passion, and let it lead us to be a stronger society.  

My passion was renewed recently.  I attended a screening of the 10×10 film, Girl Rising.  The stories are powerful and poignant.  The issues discussed are a reality for girls everywhere.  Poverty, domestic violence, human trafficking, slavery, lack of educational opportunities, and child marriage are real.  The girls face unimaginable challenges.   They found triumph in their hardships and an astounding courage to fight not just for themselves, but to inspire girls around them.  

Image courtesy of www.10x10act.org 

I connected with Senna from La Rinconada, Peru.  She was the daughter to a gold miner who perished from complications of working in the mines.  I am the granddaughter and great granddaughter of a coal miners which you can read about in a previous post, You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive.  She shared many of the same struggles that my own family did thousands of miles from her in Harlan, Kentucky.  My family did not endure the same harsh living conditions but they shared struggles for food, clothing, and the general brutal working conditions of a mine.  

I encourage everyone to find a local screening of Girl Rising and attend.  The girls are real and their stories are inspiring.  The proceeds from the film benefit several organizations including the United Nations Foundation Girl Up campaign.  The girls will renew your hope in humanity.  They are living proof that optimism and good can come from despair and evil.  

My hope is that my niece is a “girl rising”.   I hope that I can encourage and inspire her to turn a tragedy into a triumph.  I like to think that my brother is watching over us with pride and awe.  His legacy will not die with us, he lives on in this story and in our acts of kindness.  

Please visit www.girlrising.com to learn more about the girls and the film.  You can locate the closest screening or email them to help organize a screening in your area.  We are presently working to organization another screening in Lexington, Kentucky, and if you would like further information please feel free to contact me.    

You can also visit www.girlup.org to learn more about one of the films impact partners the United Nations Foundation Girl Up campaign. Inspired by this post?  Get involved with the Global Mom Relay which helps to benefit Girl Up and several other UN Foundation campaigns including www.shotatlife.org

“Inspire a girl and change her world.”  

Happy Witty Wednesday,

Violence Against Women Act VERY URGENT! Immediate action required!

February 27, 2013

One Billion Rising has alerted everyone that tomorrow a vote will occur in Congress regarding the Violence Against Women Act.  Please take a few moments and locate your Congressman, and make your voice heard.  

There are two votes happening that need your attention.  
I am cross posting this from the V-Day facebook page because it needs immediate attention:

ONE BILLION RISING V-Day facebook page 

There has been an important and TIME SENSITIVE development with VAWA. 

On WEDNESDAY, February 27th, the House will vote on a rule to proceed with consideration of VAWA. We want them to vote YES on the Rule. 

On THURSDAY, February 28th, the vote on the actual bill will occur. We want them to vote NO on the House substitute bill and YES on the Senate version of VAWA.

Your Congress Members are listening to you! We only have a few hours to act so please call today and tomorrow morning. Members must hear loud and clear that they need to pass the bipartisan Senate version of VAWA! Your work has gotten us this far – let’s get this done!


To reach your Congress Member, call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or look them up herehttp://www.house.gov/representatives/. When you’re connected to their offices, ask to speak to the staff person who handles VAWA.


I am a constituent from (city and state) and my name is _________. I’m calling about the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). I urge Congress Member ________ to vote NO on the House substitute bill and then vote YES on the bipartisan Senate version of S. 47. VAWA can and must protect all victims.

Tweet to your Congress Member:

@[congress person’s handle]: On 2/28 vote NO on the House substitute bill and then vote YES on the bipartisan Senate version of S. 47. #VAWA  I have even included twitter handles.  

In Kentucky our members are 


District Name Party Room Phone Committee Assignment
1 Whitfield, Ed R 2184 RHOB 202-225-3115  
2 Guthrie, S. Brett R 308 CHOB 202-225-3501
3 Yarmuth, John A. D 403 CHOB 202-225-5401
4 Massie, Thomas R 314 CHOB 202-225-3465
5 Rogers, Harold R 2406 RHOB 202-225-4601
6 Barr, Garland “”Andy”” R 1432 LHOB 202-225-4706

Twitter handles

Please know your Districts… Congressman Barr is Fayette and surrounding counties.  Knox County is Harold Rogers.   It only takes a minute or two, there is a link up top regarding other States.   

If you follow me on Twitter you can just RT my tweet and like it.  Please feel free to share!  

Happy Wonderful Wednesday

Call to Action: Domestic Violence and Dating, Child Fatality

February 20, 2013

Warning: This article touches on very sensitive topics so if you’re triggered by the topic of domestic violence then I advise you to stop reading. If you’ve been affected by domestic violence then it’s important you seek legal help to protect yourself. Similarly, if you’ve been wrongly accused of domestic violence then it’s important you talk to a Criminal Defense Lawyer Fort Worth Tx to help fight the charges.

Unfortunately, most people do not realize how easy it is to let your government leadership know how you feel. Generally a quick call to their offices will do. There are two proposed bills that need our support. House Bill 9 and House Bill 290 both deal with issues related to domestic violence.
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Kentucky House Bill 9 This bill would allow dating couples to get get domestic violence protection orders.

It is unfortunate that Kentucky and South Carolina are the only two States in the Nation that do not allow a dating couple to file for a civil protection order. In Kentucky you can only file for civil protection to couples residing in the same home, have a child together, or have been married. House Bill 9 would allow dating couples to receive the same protection. Civil order are often considered more serious. They are often the most quickly executed, and can be vital to saving someone’s life. Civil orders often have extended time frames.
Here is a link to the actual bill House Bill 9

Kentucky House Bill 290 An act relating to the external child fatality and near fatality review panel. Create a new section of KRS 620 to establish an external child fatality and near fatality review panel; establish its membership, duties, and responsibilities; and amend KRS 620.050 to allow records to be provided to the panel. The provision would allow records to be released to the panel to review fatality and near fatality cases in children who were suspected victims of domestic violence, abuse, or neglect. If you would like to read over HB 290, I have included a link directly to the Bill. Kentucky HB 290

One in four women will experience an episode of domestic violence in her lifetime. My brother and a dear cousin both lost their lives to domestic violence. No child should ever die at the hands of a parent or caregiver. A parent shouldn’t have to grieve over the loss of a child, and it is equally devastating for a sibling. I will never get over losing my brother Brandon, and no family should ever suffer the way we did. My dear cousin Angie lost her mother Cathy at the hands of her father. It is never easy to lose a loved one, but it certainly isn’t easy to lose them at the hands of someone you trusted.

It is very easy to call. The number is 1-502-564-8100. Please remember that legislators are elected by voting districts. If you live in the Lexington-Fayette area here are some contacts. You can let the operator know you support one or both of the proposed bills.
The names you will want to give them are
Julian Caroll x 651
Kathy Stein x608
Tommy Buford x610
Alice Forgy Kerr x625
Stan Lee
Ruth Ann Palumbo

Click here for the link to legislators by county in Kentucky

Please make your voice heard. Whether you believe it or not, every voice counts.
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Speak up for those that have already lost their lives to domestic violence. Far too many people struggle in silence, and so much more needs to be done to help survivors of domestic violence feel able to get in touch with a denver domestic violence lawyer or a domestic violence law specialist in their area. You really could help save lives with your action.
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Please and Thank You
Happy Thankful Thursday

And please feel free to share the link to this blog. We need to spread the word and make our voices heard!