Here's a chance to make the world more beautiful.
It may feel strange that the Domestic Violence Education And Support Group is so interested in making the Purple Martin Greenway more beautiful, along with the rest of the world, but consider how coming out of domestic violence makes the survivors more beautiful.
Surviving domestic violence takes the blues of bruises and transforms them back into more natural skin tones. Surviving domestic violence takes the blues of broken hearts and starts to play the tones of happier music.
When Sally Claroni and Dr. Johnnie Martin join other volunteers on Saturday, November 16 to plant bulbs on the Purple Martin Greenway, their intention is to continue years of working to change the blues.
This statement from the group also explains why they are inspired by a children's book:
"Once upon a time, so the fictitious story goes in the children's book, Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney, a grandfather tells his little granddaughter that when she grows up she needs to decide what she would do to make the world more beautiful. It's a worthy challenge for us too, and certainly one to pass on to our children and grandchildren! The little girl who grows up to be known as Miss Rumphius spreads lupine seeds all across the roadsides and landscape in New England so that in the springtime everywhere one looked there were all these beautiful flowers."
The statement from the group also offered, "This children's book planted a seed for the Domestic Violence Education And Support Group here in Rutherford County. This is a group which meets the first Tuesday of every month, is facilitated by Martin and Claroni, and funded by the Rutherford County Endowment of the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina.
"For a project the group decided to invite Rutherford County residents, especially those who enjoy walking the Purple Martin Greenway, to join us in planting bulbs (tulips, daffodils, crocus, iris, etc.) in designated areas along the greenway to make our nature trail even more beautiful. Bulbs will be provided thanks to The Town of Rutherfordton and Lowes, and if local folks choose, they can also bring bulbs from their own gardens."
Volunteers will be stationed at each entrance to the greenway with bulbs for planting and spades for digging. Of course, participants may bring their own gardening tools.
Martin and Claroni recently met with the local Pilot Club to challenge members to help with the project. They also expressed thanks to the Town of Rutherfordton and Lowe's for supporting the project.
The event will run 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, November 16 or until all the bulbs are planted.
What's the interest of the group in the greenway? Along the trail is the meditation garden/picnic shelter built by the group and used by many survivors of domestic violence. The spot includes a mailbox with a journal that survivors can write in and a number of tiles that contain stories and words of encouragement for survivors.
Demonstrating the power of working together, the tiles and the journal create a collective set of memories and hopes for a better future. While domestic violence is as old as humanity itself, recent decades have offered change and hope for better conditions for survivors.
Mandatory arrest policies and training for law enforcement officers, as well as other educational efforts throughout society, have made survivors safer and tipped the scales against those who would use violence, intimidation, financial and other forms of emotional power and control to terrorize their domestic partners.
The FBI estimates that roughly 5,000 murders each year can be attributed to domestic violence.
Rutherford County Sheriff Chris Francis recently praised good police work for the fact that three local men have gone to prison for domestic violence. He said attitudes in law enforcement have changed and that "having specialists investigate these kinds of crimes and aid in prosecution has made a tremendous difference." Detective Adrianne Wallace is among the specialists who work in the department.
He also had high praise for Claroni and Martin for being of service to survivors and for "giving us a new window on this problem."
The Domestic Violence Education and Support Group meets the first Tuesday of each month. For information on time and place, survivors can contact Claroni at 828-245-1390 ext. 104. Martin can also be reached at 704-473-4275.
Martin said, "Please come join us anytime from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., or until the bulbs run out; and let's enjoy together making our little piece of the world more beautiful like Miss Rumphius!"