Amigas Award Winners
Carolyn Johnson, FL: HIV Outreach Worker/Volunteer Nurse Carolyn Johnson volunteers 3 Saturdays a month at La Casa de Esperanza y Salud, the Farmworker’s Self-help health clinic. Over many years (“too many to remember”) she has worked in a variety of settings for the farmworkers, including organizing the first black health fair at James Irwin Park. She feels, “Lucky that I was raised with a father that never saw the color of people. When I was in the fourth grade the first black child came to school. I couldn’t understand why they were so mean. I had to ask my father why they were prejudice.”
Alice Thomasson, Raiders Against Prejudice (RAP), OHIO: Alice Thomasson used her position as a teacher at Morgan High School to assist students in forming the group RAP to answer the question, “Why is racism such a persistent problem and what can be done to counter it?” Their activities include a fair on holiday celebrations from various cultures and workshops on appropriate discipline by school administrators.
Sandra Barnhill, Aid to Children of Imprisoned Mothers, Georgia: Sandra is Executive Director and founder of Aid to Children of Imprisoned Mothers, Inc. (AIM). Sandra, a lawyer, founded AIM in 1987. One Saturday a month volunteers participate with the children of incarcerated women in recreational activities or a service project, followed by lunch and transportation and supervision to take the children to visit their mothers. AIM also runs a week of summer camp for the children and supplies moms with two self-help manuals with information on parental rights and responsibilities.
Sister Claire LeBoeuf, C.S.C., Everyday Blessings, Tampa, Florida: Years ago Claire LeBoeuf, a Catholic nun, began dreaming of a program where children who had been removed from the custody of their parent/s due to abuse or neglect and their mothers, most of whom were teens and young adults, could live together in an intensive educational environment. In 1986 she began New Life Dwelling Place where women and children can live and experience, many for the first time, a loving, safe environment where the mothers are challenged to grow daily. They are taught parenting skills, improve their educational level so they can provide financially for their children and receive counseling. In working with and counseling these mostly young unwed women she found many of them struggling with raising their children, having custody problems due to neglect or abuse and the children being placed in foster care. With her love for children and the difficult decisions these mothers face in mind in 1998, she started Everyday Blessings. This is a cooperative open adoption agency that gives the biological mothers and adoptive parents a chance to participate in the choice of adoptive parents for their children.
Roxie Dillon, New Port Richey, Florida: Roxie is a woman who inspires others with her example and encouragement. She has been President of United Methodist Women, American Association of University Women, and League of Women Voters over the course of her life. She graduated from West Virginia University in 1932 and worked for them as an extension agent. She was the Dean of Women at Fairmont College until she retired in 1970. She moved to Pasco County Florida and helped found the League of Women Voters going in Pasco County
Michelle Foss, Positive Opportunities Program, OHIO: Michelle has almost single handily reduced the violence in her school and community through her efforts as Director of Positive Opportunities Program. Incidents of fighting and violence in her school have been cut in half this past school year due in large part to her intervention efforts. Positive Opportunities Program is a unique program that creates a group of 30 students that are ½ at risk and ½ at low-risk students. The strength of the program resides in Michelle’s ability to form successful relationships with kids and families. The results are students grades and attendance have improved while incidents of court referrals have decreased. She reduces violence one student at a time through her willingness to listen and love kids that need to be heard and supported.
Mabel Kunzman, Port Richey, Florida: Mabel expected to spend her retirement doing all the things she never had time for when she was working. But as she worked her way through the social service agencies in her county for a college course project, she found a need that put both her retirement and classes on hold. She began Spouse Abuse, Inc. in Naples, FL to help stop the pattern of violence that children learn in an abusive home. At 80 years old she is still volunteering with Project Vision facilitating a support group for people who are going blind or who are recently blind. She lost her sight about 3 years ago. She offers peer support, mostly with the elderly.
Holly Consol, Portland Oregon: Holly Consol spent her adolescent years in a domestic violent household before escaping at the age of 14. Witnessing brutal beatings including the use of weapons and near death strangulation, she knows intimately the effects these images have on children of battered women. As a speaker and artist Holly tries to pass on the hope of recovery from these images and the destructive role they play in adult decision making to women and children who doubt their ability to capture peace of mind. Holly’s art is dedicated to bringing about awareness and hope for the survivors of abuse. She has done a 6 foot by 3-foot tri-fold panel called “The Good Wife” that tells a composite story of a domestic violence victim. The back of the memorial has been prepared for those who wish to sign it in remembrance of a loved one victimized by domestic violence. She has also designed the “IMOM” (In Memory Of Many) and uses it in jewelry, Christmas decorations, stationery, coffee mugs etc.. IMOM items and her other artwork are used as a means to raise money for domestic violence projects. Her artwork is a traveling memorial lending support to organizations wanting to educate the public about domestic violence.
United States Grants
Sunrise Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Center, Dade City, Florida: Sunrise Alumni received a grant to help fund the first annual Women’s Information Fair to be held in conjunction with Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This event served to inform, educate and empower formerly battered women with self-help information covering a very wide range of topics.
Meeting of the Minds Conference, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida: The conference focused on cultural diversity issues related to family violence, both in Florida and in Hispanic nations and the Caribbean. Peacepower has contributed to the travel expenses of Ana Carcedo of Costa Rica to attend the conference. She also received an award for her outstanding public service in the area of domestic violence.
Central Florida Women’s Resource Center, Orlando, Florida: WRC is a clearinghouse run by volunteers for women’s issues and programs. A few of the projects they raise money for the PACE Center for Girls, Clothesline Project, The Women’s Residential and Counseling Center, a clothing project for homeless women. They run a mentoring program that is aimed at helping welfare women enter the workplace. They monthly hold dinner at a different ethnic restaurant. While they share a meal with other volunteers they discuss diversity, cultural differences, problems that may be particular to that ethnic group. They received a general operating grant.
Urgent Action Fund, Fairfax, California: UAF is a global network of people committed to a world of equality and justice, provides immediate financial support for unanticipated and time-limited opportunities to advance the human rights of women. Their focus is in areas where armed conflict has recently occurred or there is a significant threat of armed conflict, closed environments where women’s freedom of movement and access to information are severely restricted by government policy or customary law, or unusual breakthrough opportunities that may emerge in areas outside their focus. They have provided grants to such groups as the Women in Solidarity in Haiti are trying to rebuild a neighborhood clinic for women that served victims of rape and other forms of political oppression during the recent coup. The clinic was destroyed and padlocked by the local police. The grant helped them to reopen a clinic and The Horn Relief/Somalia Women’s Peace Initiative who are working to gain representation in policy and decision making in ongoing peace negotiations between clan fighting over territory and the charcoal production rights before it escalates into another civil war. Urgent Action was awarded a general operating grant.
Clio Florida Archives of Women’s History, Gulfport, Florida: Clio was started by a history teacher that saw that there were not many women in textbooks. It was as if women had made any contributions. To ensure future women know about past contributions Clio began collecting oral histories from women. This is a challenging task and time is of the essence to preserve these accounts. For the most part, they are only open to qualified researchers. Clio runs on a shoestring with a core group of volunteers and donations of $1,000 in 1997. They were awarded a general operating grant to further their oral history project.
Just Organization For Natural Growth (JONG), Tamil Nadu-India: JONG uses office equipment and sewing machines to teach battered or homeless women job skills training, they provide counseling and economic empowerment programs to help them obtain their rights and dignity in their family and in society. At great risk to the organizers, JONG works in 60 different villages and has found that what the women really need most after shelter, counseling, personality development, and educating women and children on health and reproductive health. They were awarded a general operating grant.
Autonomous Women’s Center Against Sexual Violence, Serbia, (former Yugoslavia ): Created by dedicated feminists at the beginning of the war in 1992 this organization helps survivors of sexual violence, refugees, women raped in the war, and battered women. They provide a safe environment and support for women survivors of all forms of violence. Services extend to women from both urban and rural areas, including those living as refugees or in exile, and of all ethnic origins and nationalities. The Center provides individual and group psychotherapy and counseling, a Hotline service, and ongoing educational projects. They work in conjunction with two shelters, a safe house, and a legal aid group. They were awarded a general operating grant.
Association Of Women of the Mediterranean Region, USA/Mediterranean: This organization is comprised of women from 18 countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Through research, education, and joint actions, they work for justice, equality and peace in the Mediterranean and the world as a whole. They promote health and well being of women and children, work toward demilitarizing and denuclearizing their region, abolish sexual discrimination, oppression, exploitation and all forms of violence against women and promote education for justice, equality, and peace at all levels, with special attention to the family, schools, and media. They have written and published “Nobody Can Imagine Our Longing – refugees and Immigrants in the Mediterranean”. and a new collection of essays, “Paths To Peace”. The grant awarded is in support of their annual meeting.
Lithuania Centre for Human Rights, Lithuania, Vilnius, Lithuania: LCHR is a non-governmental non-profit organization that participates in national and international projects as well as organizes scientific research, lectures, seminars, courses, public awareness events, and educational services. In addition, the Centre gathers information and documentation on human rights, mobilizes public and professional efforts in the field of human rights. The Centre is constantly undermined by the media that glorifies prostitution as appropriate work for women and work environments that are fraught with socially-accepted sexual harassment. Funding was given for new girls rights education project that aims to conduct research on the legal system that protects girl’s rights, prepare a manual about girl’s rights for education purposes, acquaint girl’s with their basic rights provided by law, provide legal assistance to female orphans and girls of socially supported families. Their target area is 8 boarding schools around Lithuania and schoolgirls from special education and worship homes.
Association for the Protection of Human Rights in Romania Bucharest, Romania: APADOR-CH is a non-profit organization aiming to protect and promote civil and political rights for women in Romania. The status of Romanian women has declined over the last decade following the Romanian revolution of 1989. APADOR-CH project goals are to help women’s rights advocates appreciate the relevance and importance of human rights laws and mechanisms in the promotion and defense of women’s rights, provide information on how to use the human rights system at local, national, regional, and international levels, outline key advocacy strategies that can be used to pro