Just two days after the acquittal of the man she believes killed her sister, Denise Brown on Thursday resumed what she has pledged is her life’s work: speaking out against domestic violence.
Brown toured the San Diego Center for Children, a nonprofit residential treatment center for emotionally disturbed and abused children. Later she served as keynote speaker at a fund-raising dinner for the center, which treats 82 children ages 5 to 13.
At the center, Brown played a game called “Hands Are Not For Hitting” and asked the students to take a pledge: “My hands will not commit violence.”
Despite the shock of Tuesday’s surprisingly quick verdict, Brown was in a buoyant mood and appeared to enjoy the verbal back-and-forth with the children as they followed her instructions to draw an outline of a handprint.
“Are you a movie star,” asked one child.
“Are you someone famous,” asked another.
“No, I’m just Denise.”
“Have you been on TV?” asked a third.
“Not because I want to be, sweetheart.”
When one student tried to rearrange the rules of the game, Brown asked playfully, “Who’s making up the rules here?”
Dogged by reporters and cameras during the visit, Brown declined to comment on Simpson’s acquittal. A publicist accompanying her said she did not want discussion of the case to draw attention away from the center and its work with children.
During Simpson’s trial, Brown testified for the prosecution and has proclaimed her belief that the football great killed her sister.
Brown’s stop in San Diego was arranged through the Nicole Brown Simpson Charitable Foundation, formed by the Brown family to support the work of those dedicated to eradicating abuse and violence.
On Thursday night, other members of Brown’s family attended an event at South Shores Church in Dana Point to sign up volunteers for the foundation.
Beverly Albright, a volunteer coordinator, said they had expected 20 people at the event, planned before the verdict. Instead, about 100 people filled the church’s sanctuary to sign up.
Tanya Brown, Nicole’s sister, referring to juror Brenda Moran’s comments Wednesday that the testimony about domestic abuse had been “a waste of time,” said, “She better get educated.”
The new volunteers brainstormed ideas, including urging people to boycott Simpson memorabilia and to cancel their cable subscriptions if a rumored pay-per-view interview with Simpson is aired.
Earlier, at the banquet, Brown told the audience that she had given the anti-violence pledge to Sydney and Justin, Nicole and Simpson’s two young children. She said that 6-year-old Justin had drawn a heart inside his handprint and that a psychiatrist later told her: “You have a little boy there with a broken heart.”
Times correspondent Jeff Bean contributed to this story.