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Chamber shines light on domestic violence

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The Bronx Chamber of Commerce exposed the tragedy of domestic violence at its 4th annual Domestic Violence Awareness Luncheon and Information Panel.

Council Speaker Christine Quinn was the keynote speaker in a program on Friday, October 28 at F & J Pine Restaurant, located at 1913 Bronxdale Avenue, which also included remarks by Commissioner Yolanda Jimenez of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, Chamber CEO Lenny Caro, Chamber chairman Joseph Kelleher, and Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo.

Also in attendance were Verizon’s David Samberg who spoke a program called HopeLine which provides cell phones for victims of domestic violence to keep them in contact with authorities; Ariel Zwang of CEO Safe Horizon which is launching a new program with chambers of commerce throughout the city that helps employers identify signs of domestic violence; director of STEPS to End Family Violence Lucia Riviecco; and NYS Coalition Against Domestic Violence CEO Michele McKeon, among others.

“I’m so proud to join with the Bronx Chamber of Commerce during Domestic Violence Awareness Month,” Quinn said. “The impact of domestic violence is felt profoundly in every facet of our lives, including in our economy and in our businesses.”

The partnership between the Chamber, the City Council, and Safe Horizon is an important first step towards minimizing the impact and reducing the amount of domestic violence, Quinn said. The meeting served as a kick-off of a partnership between the Bronx Chamber of Commerce and Safe Horizons.

“Domestic violence is too often an issue that exists in the shadows, even though it is all too common in our society,” Zwang said.

Chamber president Lenny Caro said that businesses can play a role in helping to raise awareness about issues surrounding domestic violence, and proposed a domestic violence walk to aide victims.

“Today’s luncheon will place emphasis on the need for community involvement and on what efforts we can take to reduce domestic violence through public education, increased community support of agencies, and providing domestic violence crisis services,” Caro said.

Arroyo gave an impassioned account of her own struggles with domestic violence with a man who literally threatened to cut her heart out, she said. She was discouraged from filing a police report against her abusive partner, Arroyo stated.

The Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence also held an event in conjunction with the NYPD that passed out information on domestic violence prevention to passersby on October 28 on East 161st Street and Jerome Avenue. Jimenez thanked the Chamber for the work it is doing in fighting domestic violence.

“I want to commend the Bronx Chamber of Commerce for engaging the business community in combating domestic violence,” Jimenez stated. “

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at procchio@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393

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