In 2005, the Zonta Club of Austin donated a peace statue with many symbols of Zonta’s mission to the City of Austin. It was moved to the corner between the Court House and the new Justice Center in 2010. It is a great little plaza with benches, a table and plenty of flowers in summer. The Club wanted to expand this area, and it was decided that the Club would take this expansion on as part of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence. The Club purchased a flag pole and an American flag to fly permanently behind the statue. A flag with the Zonta emblem on it also flies under the American flag. Each day, during the 16 Days of Activism, the Club placed a yellow flag at the site to bring awareness of violence against women to the community.
On 26 November, a ceremony was held at the plaza for the kick-off of the 16 Days of Activism. The VFW color guard posted the American and Zonta flags, and two yellow flags were placed on each side to start the event. After an explanation of the 16 Days of Activism, Mayor Tom Stiehm read a proclamation on violence against women.
On 10 December, a “Take Back the Night” event was held. Zonta Club of Austin President, Linda Miller, welcomed guests to the Justice Center lobby, and Cheryl Retterath, Area 3 Director, shared some statistics about violence in the United States. Tori Miller of the Crime Victims Resource Center informed guests about the different types of violence and what her organization can do to help people who are in violent situations. Kristin Nelson, Mower County Attorney, thanked Tori for Crime Victims Resource Center’s work with victims of violence and shared her experiences inside the courtroom and in dealing with perpetrators. State Representative Jeanne Poppe thanked the Zonta Club of Austin for raising awareness of violence against women in the community of Austin and the surrounding areas.
Everyone then crossed to the plaza for a candlelight vigil and prayer ceremony where Pastor Glen Monson prayed for the end of violence. He asked those in attendance to keep people dealing with these issues in their prayers and also to remember those individuals who have lost their lives due to violence. It was a meaningful way to end the event.