Community takes a stand against violence at annual walk in Melrose
The Melrose Free Press
October 26, 2011
For the 16th year, residents of Melrose and other nearby communities gathered for the annual Walk and Candlelight Vigil.
Sponsored by Melrose Alliance Against Violence (MAAV), the 2-mile walk on Sunday traveled around Ell Pond. Walk teams included participants from local schools, businesses, nonprofits and others.
The walk is MAAV’s largest annual fundraiser — last year’s walk raised nearly $30,000. Proceeds from the event go toward the organization’s prevention and intervention initiatives throughout the community and in the Melrose Public Schools. MAAV works to reduce bullying, teen dating abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault.
Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone received MAAV’s first Advocacy in Action Award. Leone served as an honorary co-chairman of the walk this year, with Diane Patrick, wife of Gov. Deval Patrick.
“MAAV is an important partner in our efforts to prevent instances of domestic violence and to promote healthy relationships, particularly with young people,” Leone said in a statement. “I am pleased to be a co-chair of MAAV’s 16th annual Walk and Vigil and honored to be serving alongside First Lady Diane Patrick, who has committed so much of her time and effort to the issue of domestic violence. We will continue to do all we can to break down the barriers … that all too often hinder the disclosure of domestic violence, while promoting the benefits of increased awareness within our communities.”
Rebecca Mooney, executive director of MAAV, said the committee of honorary co-chairmen is an “ever-growing” list. She said it includes local leaders such as Attorney General Martha Coakley, former Attorneys General Tom Reilly and Scott Harshbarger, Congressman Edward Markey, Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, state Sens. Katherine Clark and Thomas McGee, state Rep. Paul Brodeur, Mayor Rob Dolan, schools Superintendent Joseph Casey and Police Chief Michael Lyle.
This year’s theme was “Everyone Has a Hand in Stopping Violence.” In honor of that, a hand-shaped silver charm appeared on bracelets that were sold for $20 to benefit MAAV’s services for victims of domestic violence. The bracelets also featured purple beads, for the color representing domestic violence awareness, and they were designed by walk committee member Diane MacDonald.
The “Everyone Has a Hand in Stopping Violence” theme was also applied to a community art project organized by Kris Rodolico of Follow Your Art. Over the past month, residents and local organizations were invited to leave their handprint on one of two 13-foot murals, and to help decorate and color other people’s handprints. The finished murals — with everyone’s hands meshing and overlapping to symbolize the collaboration against violence — were displayed at the walk.