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Duluth rallies against domestic violence

On the windy steps of City Hall, Mayor Emily Larson reads a proclamation calling March 7 a domestic violence awareness day of action in Duluth. (Photo by Teri Cadeau)1 / 3
About 40 people gathered on the steps of City Hall to honor the 21 people killed due to domestic violence in Minnesota in 2016 and call for action to maintain domestic violence prevention and advocacy programs across the state. (Photo by Teri Cadeau)2 / 3
Rally attendees were asked to fill out a postcard to be hand delivered to their appropriate lawmaker to advocate for state funding for domestic violence prevention and victim advocacy programs. (Photo by Teri Cadeau)3 / 3

In 2016, 21 people in Minnesota died due to domestic violence.

"That is 21 too many," said Kristi Beaver, community education and development coordinator for Safe Haven Resource Center at a rally held on March 8 in honor of those killed.

The domestic violence day of action rally was held on the steps of City Hall on Tuesday. About 40 people gathered to honor the victims lost in 2016 and call for action to be taken. The rally was one of more than 80 planned across the state on March 8.

"Along with Duluth, St. Paul, St. Cloud, Red Wing, Fridley, Anoka and many other communities across Minnesota have stepped forward to formally say they are part of the solution to end domestic violence," said Scott Miller of the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project in Duluth.

Miller both acknowledged the victims of abuse and violence and called for rally attendees to continue the work of prevention.

"Today we gather to honor the lives of victims of domestic violence and to say that we are coming together as a community to end this ingrained, long standing social problem," Miller said. "Domestic violence happens here in our community every single day. The solutions, interventions and responses to domestic violence must also happen every day."

The rally gave community members a chance to call on lawmakers to maintain crucial funding for victim's services by filling out a purple post card which advocates plan on hand delivering to lawmakers.

"Domestic and sexual violence programs which work in every county of the state are supported with state funding. Our elected officials have a responsibility to maintain support for these lifesaving services and we know there is a need for more funding, more advocacy, more support, more services. But at a minimum, the funding needs to be maintained and not reduced," Beaver said.

The rally was a collaboration between several Duluth organizations including AICHO, Mending the Sacred Hoop, PAVSA, Men As Peacemakers, Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs, Safe Haven and Vision Duluth.

"Duluth's coordinated community response to domestic violence has a long and storied history of community collaboration and it continues to impact victim's lives," Miller said. "As we do this work, the work of creating a violence free Minnesota, we are working with individuals in the community just like you gathered here in this space. We are asking each one of you to be part of that solution."

Organizers also rallied for earned sick and safe time, which they said protects victims of domestic violence who need to take off if they feel their safety is threatened at work. Beaver also suggested attendees check with their workplaces to see if they have a domestic violence workplace policy.

"Even if the violence occurs outside of work, it still impacts the workplace. Domestic violence may prevent the employee from getting to work, concentrating at work and interfere with co-workers performance as well," Beaver said. "Does your workplace have a policy or procedure? If you don't know, ask. There are several advocates around you right now who would help guide the process if you would like to implement a policy."

Teri Cadeau

Teri Cadeau is a reporter for the Budgeteer.

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