Modified: January 23, 2015 4:15pm
Celebration is Part of 5th Annual Break the Cycle Bike-A-Thon and Walk to Raise Awareness
ERIE COUNTY, NY— Today, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined at Isle View Park in Tonawanda by Erie County Commissioner of Public Advocacy for the Erie County Commission on the Status of Women Sawrie Becker, WNY domestic violence agencies and community partners, victims of domestic violence and their families, and community members committed to ending domestic violence to dedicate the new Tribute Garden honoring domestic violence victims and survivors. Located in an Erie County park and overlooking the Niagara River, the Tribute Garden is the first of its kind in this area and provides a place for peaceful, quiet reflection for individuals and families whose lives have been touched by domestic violence.
“With today’s dedication, we are demonstrating that Erie County stands together against domestic violence, united in raising awareness about it and committed to ending it in our community. This is a community-wide issue, and we must cooperate as a community to eliminate it,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “Today we loudly say with one voice that the cycle of domestic violence can be broken, that we must act to do it, and that we are always here to support and care for victims and their families. This Tribute Garden, a place of peaceful reflection and quiet prayer, will forever stand as a powerful reminder of the people and events that brought us here today, and of the promise we make as we go forth from here.”
Domestic violence has claimed the lives of victims locally and across the country. According to the National Institute of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control, more than 1.5 million women – one out of every four – are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in the United States. Nearly half the female homicide victims in New York State were killed by their partner, according to the Erie County Coalition Against Family Violence. However, one out of every nine victims of domestic abuse is male.
“The Erie County Commission on the Status of Women is proud to lead this community collaboration that brings awareness to the issue of domestic violence in our community,” said Commissioner Becker. “With over 14,000 calls to law enforcement pertaining to domestic violence in Erie County during 2013, it is clear that something must be done.”
The dedication ceremony took place following the 5th Annual Break the Cycle Bike-A-Thon and Walk. Erie County is a major sponsor of both the Tribute Garden and the Bike-A-Thon, held annually to raise awareness about the ongoing threat of domestic violence. Bike-a-thon organizers and other volunteers broke ground earlier this month for the Tribute Garden, which will be a permanent, living memorial for victims and others affected by domestic violence. Proceeds from this year’s bike-a-thon and walk will be added to proceeds from previous years and other community donations to complete the garden.
In addition to the dedication of the Tribute Wall, the event featured performances by the Buffalo Chips and the Royal Pitches, Maria Angelova, and a poetry reading by a domestic violence survivor.
The total projected cost of the Tribute Garden project, anticipated to be completed in September 2015, is $250,000. To date, about $75,000 has been raised through a combination of Erie County support and donations from corporate and individual sponsors. Funds are still being raised to go toward completion of the other elements of the Tribute Garden design including the "The Donor Wall", amphitheater and trellis. Individuals can have a victim memorialized on the “Tribute Wall” by purchasing an engraved brick for $350, or an engraved stone for $200.
The Break the Cycle Bike-a-Thon and Walk and the Tribute Garden are supported by: The Erie County Commission on the Status of Women in cooperation with Catholic Charities, Crisis Services, CSEA, Erie County Department of Social Services, Erie County Coalition Against Family Violence, Erie County Sheriff’s Office Domestic Violence Unit, Family Justice Center of Erie County, Child and Family Services Haven House, Hispanos Unidos De Buffalo, YWCA of the Tonawandas, Child and Family Services, and community volunteers.
For more information:
On the Erie County Commission on the Status of Women, visit http://www2.erie.gov/csw/
On the Erie County Department of Parks, Recreation & Forestry, visit http://www2.erie.gov/parks/