Saturday’s inaugural It Takes A Village event had a community feel to it, as droves of representatives from county and regional organizations turned out to share their available resources for combating domestic violence, and the other interrelated issues.
The message was clear at the aptly named event: If our organization can’t help you, we can connect you to the appropriate resources.
Representing organizations included the Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter; the Loudoun County Department of Mental Health, Substance Abuse, and Developmental Services; the Leesburg Police Department; the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office; and even a unique organization called Bikers Against Child Abuse. The latter organization seeks to empower abused children to feel safe, at times acting as a physical presence assembling in droves outside of a child’s home just so they can feel safe at night.
“A lot of people just don’t realize the number of resources that are available,” Leesburg Police Department Deputy Chief Vanessa Grigsby said during the event, held at the Douglass Community Center playground in Leesburg.
It was that reason, for one, that prompted Derek Summers Jr., founder and chairman of the Citizen’s Committee Against Domestic Violence—It Takes Our Village, to organize the inaugural event. Summers was a neighbor and friend of Christina Fisher, a Leesburg resident killed in a domestic-related homicide in April. He had the idea to organize such an event previously, but Fisher’s death sprang him into action.
“I had to do something,” he said.
He began making phone calls, contacting community members, and the idea began taking shape. He wanted the event to have a family feel. Children played on the playground, while parents perused the available resources. The daylong event also served as an opportunity to donate school supplies, food and clothing to area organizations.
Summers said that, although he was hoping to continue the initiative into future years, he hopes the event is no longer needed.
“The best scenario is there is no more worst case scenario,” he said, meaning an end to domestic violence.