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Opinion

On the Town: YWCA Glendale ‘Takes a Stand’ against domestic violence at recent event

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Glendale Soroptimists gather at the Glendale YWCA to recognize domestic-violence awareness.
(Ruth Sowby Rands/Glendale News-Press)

Every year 2,000 victims of domestic violence are served in shelters by the YWCA Glendale.

Tara Peterson, executive director of the organization, followed up with more startling statistics as she spoke at the “Take a Stand” candlelight vigil and Purple Tie Awards this past Thursday.

“One in three women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime,” Peterson said. That statistic reflects a World Health Organization report citing a survey of women worldwide.

“Domestic Violence, sexual assault and stalking are not just women’s issues, they are community issues, and gender equality cannot be achieved without the involvement of men and boys,” she added.

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To that end, three men who help promote domestic-violence awareness were honored by some 200 people in the YWCA’s large, community room.

They were Sgt. Alex Krikorian of the Glendale Police Department, James Maddox, a YWCA volunteer who has put in 3,000 hours, and Albert Hernandez, executive director of Family Promise of the Verdugos.

They each represent the “purple” of the power inherent in taking a stand.

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Joining YWCA Executive director Tara Peterson are honorees, from left, James Maddox, Sgt. Alex Krikorian and Albert Hernandez.
(Ruth Sowby Rands/Glendale News-Press)

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Before the awards program, Ilin Magran, chair of the Glendale Commission on the Status of Women, welcomed the dignitaries attending, including state Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian and City Council members Paula Devine, Vreg Agajanian, and Vartan Gharpetian.

Also representing the community was City Manager Yasmin Beers. Representing the Glendale Unified School District were school board members Armina Gharpetian and Shant Sahakian.

The Commission on the Status of Women partnered with the YWCA on the candlelight vigil.

After the VIPs were introduced, Mayor Najarian presented Peterson with a city proclamation issued to YWCA Glendale in recognition of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

“I think we’ll need a bigger room [for supporters] next year,” Najarian said.

Elizabeth Sahagun, YWCA Glendale’s director of domestic violence supportive services, then presented a brief “Survivor” video that focused on the YWCA’s Camp Rosie, which is a two-week summer day camp for girls in seventh through ninth grades.

Among other skills, the girls learn about what makes a healthy relationship.

The video was followed by a musical interlude by the jazz band from Crescenta Valley High School. A stand-out was Kimberly Blood on the keyboard.

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Then came the heart of the program. First up to receive his Purple Tie Award was Sgt. Krikorian as “Law Enforcement Advocate.” He was presented to the audience by T.C. Kim, YWCA board member. A 2000 graduate of Glendale High School, Krikorian served in the U.S. Marine Reserve. He was deployed to Iraq in 2003.

After his service, he joined the Glendale Police Department. Krikorian works with the YWCA and the local police department to promote domestic-violence programs.

Nicole Cherry, YWCA Glendale’s director of clinical services, recognized the next awardee, Maddox, as Volunteer Advocate. With a master’s degree in social work from USC, Maddox works with veterans, older adults, victims of sexual assault, victims of human trafficking and victims of domestic violence.

Hernandez was named Community Partner Advocate and honored by YWCA board member Dick Bennett. Hernandez currently serves as president of the Glendale Latino Assn. However, he is most proud of his Family Promise leadership, serving 50 families a day with an emergency shelter, transitional housing and other services.

Hernandez was brought up in a family of 11 brothers and sisters by a single mom.

A candle-lighting ceremony ended the evening.

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