Four local women were honored by Turning Point of Macomb County with the 2012 Spirit of Leadership Luncheon Thursday at MacRay Banquet Center for their efforts to end violence against women.
Alisha Baker, Customer Service Manager, Dupont; Ameldia R. Brown, Director Faith & Community Health, Henry Ford Macomb Hospital; Debbie Komar, Editor, Macomb Daily, and Lorraine Schultz, CEO & Founder, Women’s Automotive Association International were honored at this year’s luncheon.
The underlying theme of the event was the resulting synergy and benefits achieved when women collectively focus their talents and energies on crucial issues.
Fox 2 News Taryn Asher emceed the event and Author Edie Hand, was the special guest speaker. Domestic violence survivor Valentina Djelaj shared with the audience how she overcame tragedy after her father killed her mother and then himself in the parking lot of a Shelby Township church four years ago. Djelaj is currently working on her master’s degree in social work from Wayne State and has made it her life’s work to educate the public about the cycle of domestic violence and how to end it.
During her opening remark’s Djelaj noted that , she received several negative comments questioning Djelaj’s generalization that domestic violence is “prevalent” in the Albanian-American community. Djelaj said at first glance, reading the comments made her question if any of her activism has had an impact on the community because she had received similar criticism for speaking out against domestic violence after her parent’s death.
Djelaj said the tone of the recent comments were more sympathetic to domestic violence victims and applauded her for speaking out, and that has given Djelaj the motivation and strength to continue her fight.
Proceeds from the 2012 Spirit of Leadership will be dedicated to Turning Point's efforts to to accommodate the growing needs of the community.
Turning Point President and CEO Suzanne Coats told the audience that her ultimate goal was to put herself out of business because there would be no more domestic and sexual violence against women, and therefore no need for a women’s shelter.
The more than 500 guests had a chance to shop with local vendors and boutiques and browsed photos created by children survivors of domestic and sexual violence before lunch.