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At A Window Between Worlds’ first annual heART gala held on October 6, 2012 at the beautiful Lexus Santa Monica, we honored Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa with the first ever heART Award for coming forward as a childhood domestic violence survivor and for his unwavering commitment to ending this silent epidemic in our communities. While accepting his award the Mayor shared with us, “As someone who’s experienced domestic violence firsthand, I’m profoundly moved by the work of A Window Between Worlds. Through your programs, mothers are finding the courage to create change for themselves and their children. Indeed it is these children who will help break the cycle of abuse in our communities.” Deputy Mayor Aileen Adams spoke on the Mayor’s behalf at the event sharing more of his journey:
I wanted to share some of the words the Mayor used when he first talked about being a victim of domestic violence, himself, as a young child. He revealed this abuse on the CBS segment about 6 months ago for the first time. And the first word he used was, ‘helpless.’ He said, ‘In my life, I have never experienced, ever, that feeling of helplessness that I felt when my little sister and I were huddled together under a bed, listening to the abuse that was going on in our household.’ ‘Pain’ was another word that he used. ‘Pain’ -- the pain of not being able, at 5 or 6 years old to help his mother. And I don’t think, honestly, he’s ever recovered from that pain. It’s something he always carries with him. ‘Anger’ is another word he used. He became a very angry person as an adolescent, and in fact, was kicked out of school—a little-known fact. Our Mayor was kicked out of school. But what saved him was his mother, who got the therapy she needed to turn her agony into activism, and to in turn empower her four children.
In the last decade of her life the Mayor’s mother became an activist working with victims of violence. She said that became her life’s work. I think the Mayor’s story and the story of his mother, and the power of that transformation that took place in his life, is the story of A Window Between Worlds. AWBW gives the power to so many participants in our city and around the country to turn their lives around, become stronger, become real advocates for a cause, and to experience, for the first time in their lives, justice and healing. So on behalf of the Mayor, thank you, thank you, thank you.
While accepting his award, Mayor Villaraigosa also signed on as part of the I CAN WE CAN project, and made his pledge to continue to help end domestic violence. We are thrilled to have his support. To view him making his pledge click here and if you haven’t already, we hope you will join Mayor Villaraigosa in making your own commitment to help end domestic violence now and for future generations.
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