CLIFTON—It was a special mixer this month as the Greenlee County Chamber of Commerce partnered with the Mount Graham Safe House to light up the night.
October is recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which began in 1981 with a “Day of Unity” from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. This year, the MGSH hosted their third annual light up the night event in Greenlee County. It was a natural fit to partner with the chamber, as Greenlee mobile advocate Dorsha Frye is also the current Chamber of Commerce president. The participation from the community was exceptional, she told the Copper Era. “Yes, we had a huge crowd for the Greenlee County Chamber mixer, which was also hosted by the Mt. Graham Safe House for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.”
Following an opening prayer by Pastor Barry Speck, guests were treated to performances by the Morenci Junior High Choir and the Morenci High School Marching Band which made its way to Fernandez Park from the American Legion across the river. It was ultimately a solemn affair, with stories of victims and survivors, and of domestic abuse and the dangers of normalizing troubling behavior.
“In what I do, I get to see a lot of domestics,” EMT Dawna Lizarraga told the crowd while sharing the story of a victim. “A lot of people in Greenlee County don’t realize how many domestics and violent crimes we have in Greenlee County. So I started to ask around, ‘How can I help? What can I do’. They told me I could sit with the victims until the safe house ladies came. I’ve been doing that now for a while, and it’s pretty intense some days. I get to see them as victims, which is really hard for me on the ambulance, but then I sit with them and I become their friends, and some of them I still talk to.”
In total, one in four women and one in nine men experience severe physical or sexual violence with an intimate partner. On average, nearly 20 people per minute experience abuse in the U.S., according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. On a typical day, they say, more than 200,000 phone calls are placed to domestic violence hotlines across the country.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse in Graham or Greenlee County, you can contact the Mount Graham Safe House hotline at 1-888-269-9104 or text (626) 733-8431 for assistance.