The statistics are shocking: African American women are three times more likely to die at the hands of a partner or ex-partner than any other race. According to former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, intimate partner homicide is the leading cause of death for black women
The Fulton DeKalb Hospital Authority’s 4th Annual Summit at Atlanta’s Hyatt Regency hotel addressed the disturbing issue in its most impactful health forum of its kind to date. The day-long event’s success is in large part due to the outstanding gathering of local and national healthcare experts who convened to address the issue of violence in the nation and the Atlanta metropolitan area. Notable presenters and participants for “Violence: America’s Challenge,” included; Rev. Dr. Bernice King, former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin, Essence editor-in-chief emeritus Susan Taylor, “NewsOne Now” talk show host Roland Martin, Judge Glenda Hatchett, news anchor Jovita Moore, actress/singer Demetria McKinney and a host of other renowned speakers sharing insights and personal stories on the growing epidemic of violence.
“I want us all to understand why violence is America’s challenge. It’s my challenge and it’s your challenge for us to have safe communities and for our young people to walk and live in safe communities. They need to know that when they leave home and return safely, that their loved ones are in safe environments,” explained FDHA board chair Thomas W. Dortch. “We are going to deal with the issue that Atlanta is among the top three cities in the nation for sex trafficking and that type of violence against women, Dortch said adding, “We cannot deal with our women or any of our loved ones being abused any longer.”
Rev. Bernice King opened the FDHA’s 4th Annual Summit’s breakfast discussion with motivating and moving remarks to honor civil rights legends, C.T Vivian, Xernona Clayton, Dr. Charles Steel and Eliazbeth Omilami.
Dynamic discussions followed at the summit’s six workshop sessions which included “Taking It to the Streets,” a domestic violence discussion, “Solutions through Education, Community and Victims’ Assistance,” and “Empowering the Community to Stop the Violence.”
Former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin facilitated a lively luncheon discussion exploring the problem of human trafficking in the Atlanta metropolitan area, prompting many summit participants to recall past problems of sex trafficking days on Steward Avenue on the city’s Southwest side. “ I remember when Steward Avenue was commonly recognized as ground zero for the sexual exploitation of young women and children in this city, which is why government officials changed the name to Metropolitan Parkway in an attempt to erase the stain,” said luncheon guest Michelle Fling.
The often times shocking discussion of sexual exploitation of Atlanta’s most vulnerable residents was peppered with staggering statistics of abuse, and concluded with an emotional recognition of the accomplishments of former sex worker Victoria Tucker. Tucker is a graduate of Well Springs Living in Atlanta a non-profit organization dedicated to crisis intervention and promoting of quality of life living for area residents.
The summit concluded with “Let’s Talk About It,” a town hall forum moderated by venerable journalist and television personality, Roland Martin, who lead a robust discussion on causes and solutions to the epidemic of violence in America. Esteemed panelists included; Susan Taylor, Dr. Alveta Thomas, Dr. John Eaves, Judge Penny Brown Reynolds, Ted Jackson, Larry Johnson and Judge Willie Lovett.
The FDHA fosters comprehensive health care for Atlanta’s low-income and indigent residents. The FDHA’s mission is to decrease health disparities and promote the general health of the communities it serves through advocacy, education and outreach.