The Zonta Club of Findlay, USA, was thrilled to successfully organize two major events for this year’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence from 25 November – 10 December.
Of course, there were other more minor daily activities for club members to support. Here are the highlights from those 16 Days.
On 29 November, the club held a public event to release orange balloons in front of the main courthouse in downtown Findlay. Findlay’s Mayor and a City Commissioner, friends and family attended the event.
Following a brief introduction by the Advocacy Chair, who cited domestic violence statistics on local and national levels, there was a moment of silence to honor all victims of gender-based violence. Against the bright blue sky, the attendees solemnly released the balloons to soar up and away. The local newspaper reported the event on the front page news.
On 1 December, the club partnered with the Hancock County Chapter of the Northwest Ohio Rescue and Restore Coalition to host a free community event on human trafficking. The two-hour event took place at Ritz Auditorium on the University of Findlay campus.
The club blanketed Findlay with flyers and invitations by email, mailings and handouts. The invitees ranged from school counselors, community leaders and businesses to other District 5 Clubs and local service organizations.
Noted speakers included Ohio’s State Senator Theresa Fedor, who has been working for 16 years to address the rescued and recovered victims of human trafficking and their traffickers. In addition, leaders from Findlay’s Center for Safe and Healthy Children, Truckers Against Trafficking, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners, a forensic anthropology professor and seminary students presented staggering information during this impactful evening of education.
The biggest challenge in trafficking is the lack of facilities for victims to reside while undergoing reeducation and support to pursue a different life. Many of them learned life skills such as creating a resume and dressing for an interview – skills that traffickers denied them.
The club also hosted several smaller Zonta Says NO activities:
- They set up a Zonta Says NO to Domestic Violence display at the local library.
- Members used an orange lightbulb inside or outside the house every night.
- They distributed domestic violence, child marriage and other informational packets to passersby on the city’s main street.
- Mailings sent to local restaurants and bars included information on implementing the Angel Shot program to support female patrons who felt unsafe and needed help. The program consists of a poster placed inside women’s restroom stalls with domestic violence hotline contacts and three code words to use with waitstaff to signal what type of help was needed, i.e., escort out, call for an Uber, or call the police.
- They requested that local places of worship include a moment of silence on 28 November to remember domestic abuse victims.