According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime and an estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year. Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.
Marie Garza was inspired to make a difference. It wasn’t just one thing that inspired her. When she was a young girl, she witnessed her father hold a knife to her mother’s throat and has memories of her mother’s screams. She witnessed her aunt being dragged into the street by her hair and her face beat into the concrete. Marie then entered into a verbally abusive relationship of her own. The final inspiration came when she watched the story about Gladys Ricart, a woman who was shot and killed in her wedding gown by an abusive ex-boyfriend just hours before wedding another man.
In 2010, Marie Garza started the Twin Cities Brides March Against Domestic Violence, an event where participants (many dressed in wedding apparel) march through the streets of Saint Paul, Minnesota to raise awareness and honor those who have lost their lives to domestic violence. The event is inspired by a Brides March in New York that has been held in honor of Gladys Ricart.
Marie also founded Liz’s Daughter, an organization to help those battered in domestic violence named after her mother, Elizabeth Garza. They are not a shelter. Marie wants to get in front of domestic violence to work on prevention rather than reaction. Education and awareness is the only way to stop the generational cycle of abuse in families.
Most domestic violence organizations are not run by survivors of domestic violence and abuse, but Liz’s Daughter is different because Marie is a survivor turned advocate who wants to gather the strength of other survivors who are no longer in abusive relationships. Marie believes there are new solutions that can be implemented to solve this old problem of domestic violence and abuse. One such solution is Girlz Take ‘N Action, an after-school program in her old neighborhood on the west side of St. Paul that shows young girls how abusive relationships impact women.
How can you help?
- For those near Saint Paul, Minnesota, you can sign up to participate in the Twin Cities Brides March Against Domestic Violence held this year on Friday, June 21, 2013. Please visit www.bridesmarch.myevent.com for more information!
- They are also looking for event sponsors. You can learn more about sponsorship opportunities on the event’s website.
- Other opportunities include help with their marketing, fundraising, photography, videography, social media, website updates, grant writing, graphic design, and more!
- They are looking for people with a background in politics or legislation to assist them with the passage of bills to protect women.
- In addition, they are seeking help from future and current law enforcement officers to start changing the police academy curriculum to increase the number of training hours for handling domestic calls. These additional training hours can help officers to be educated about the cultural and social issues involved in domestic abuse situations.
- If you are interested in any of these volunteer opportunities, please contact Liz’s Daughter at firstname.lastname@example.org.