Irby hosted an event along with Arkansas State Senator Stephanie Flowers in observance of National Domestic Violence Month on October 25, 2014 at the senator’s office located at 217 Main Street in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
Guest speakers and presenters included Dorcas VanGilst, LPC and Director of the Women’s Ministries at the Dorcus House for Women and Children, Rev. Edna Morgan of Healing Place Ministries, and Officer Robert Sturd formally of the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department.
Additional participants included University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) youth mentoring organizations Essence of a Woman and Black Male Achievers, Shannice Ears of Fitness Boot Camp, Angela Johnson, Vice President of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s (UALR) Ethics Bowl Team, and the Jefferson County Boys and Girls Club.
Presenters at the observance event offered substantial information and resources that are available to address domestic violence and related issues.
Senator Flowers opened the event by thanking participants for coming and offering their expertise, as well as, sharing information about services available to those in need. Flowers reminded participants that her office was open to sharing resources.
Minister Edna Morgan stressed the need to stop domestic violence. Morgan urged the faith-based community to join the effort and offered support to stop the violence.
Dorcus VanGilst presented a touching and detailed speech about the services of the Dorcas House for Women and Children. VanGilst explained the nine month domestic violence treatment program, and the educational, emergency, and drug and alcohol recovery services offered.
Former Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department Officer Sturd explained the process of obtaining an Order of Protection. Sturd stressed the need for victims to follow through with the legal process and get out of the situation.
Members from Essence of a Woman presented poetry readings pertaining to domestic violence. The Black Male Achievers stood in support of the presentations.
Angela Johnson presented information about the Green Dot Program initiated by the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Johnson explained that a “green dot” is any action that reduces the risk of violence in the moment and supports survival and creating a culture less tolerant of power-based personal violence.
Shannice Ears explained that one’s physical and mental condition can reflect the way they feel about themselves. Ears stated that if one feels good about themselves, they will most likely overcome esteem issues which are prevalent in many domestic violence cases.
At previous book releases and awareness events, Irby was joined by community leaders and organizations.
Guest speakers and presenters among both events included: Nationally recognized North Little Rock Police Officer Tommy Norman, North Little Rock firemen Williams and Black, Pam Sell of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Gisele Hudson of the Arkansas Health Department and Darrel Evans of Seconds Protectors. Trumpet in Zion Children’s Ministry staff, motivational and self-esteem presenter Deloris Burkett King, and Sherry LaGrone of Jefferson County Comprehensive Care were also participants.
Other supporters included the Pine Bluff Neighborhood Watch Program, Pulaski County’s Youth Accident Prevention Program, and the Veterans Affairs Nutrition and Dietitian Department.
Irby sponsored and hosted the events to acknowledge violence issues and promote his new book.
Irby’s new book, Love Within Life: So, You Want To Stop Violence? inspired Irby to create the Awareness, Wellness, and Choices Fair to address violence issues including domestic violence, child abuse, bullying, peer pressure, and other inappropriate behaviors.
At the events, Irby also presented concerns about messages in an overwhelming number of rap and hip-hop songs that promote violence and inappropriate behavior.
Irby urged the sports leagues and related sports entertainment to reject the use of rap and hip-hop music that promote inappropriate behavior.
“The sports leagues and sporting entertainment often use music to promote and cross-promote events. Sports and music are two of the most influential sources for our youth’s behavior. The violence and inappropriate messages expressed in specific songs contradict the conduct and ethical policies that govern the sports leagues and we have experienced recent examples of those violations,” Irby said.
At the Awareness, Wellness, and Choices fairs, Irby sent emails to the National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as part of his presentation.
More awareness and book release presentations are planned by Irby to address violence awareness and wellness.
“These events have been dynamic. We have provided information, options, and solutions that will make a great impact as we continue to address violence issues,” expressed Irby.