Dear Rep. Adams,
I am not ashamed to lead an organization that spoke out against HB4970. You can attempt to pass shame on to me, but I refuse it.
Instead I stand proud. I, along with my HAVEN peers, am proud of the work we do and have done as a domestic and sexual violence agency for the past 37 years. Proud of standing up and using our voice with and for victims of these horrific crimes.
Proud of assisting all that come to us. ALL survivors regardless of their legal status, sexual orientation, gender, race, culture, religion and socio-economic status.
I am proud of helping a battered immigrant woman get a U-VISA. Proud of opening the doors of our shelter for an LGTBQ survivor. Proud of assisting those forced into human trafficking or today’s version of the “mail order bride.”
I am so very proud of the amazing women and men that work or volunteer at HAVEN and how they approach those we serve with dignity and determination, not discrimination and disgust. I am proud that our work is one of openness, compassion and care and not that of alienation and judgment.
I am so proud that our local community embraces the work that we do and their agreement that no one individual deserves to be victimized.
And I am proud that as an organization, we refuse to roll the clock backwards as HB 4970 would have us do. We are better than that, we owe it to ALL survivors to not go back and if we are ever to reach the ultimate vision of eliminating domestic and sexual violence we must never go back.
So please, stop shaming and take action. Reach a bipartisan solution and send a final bill to President Obama that will protect ALL victims as well as hold ALL perpetrators accountable – regardless of race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, immigrant status or sexual orientation.
Beth L. Morrison