By Sean Meyer/London Community News/Twitter: Newswriter22
Although Mayor Joe Fontana will not be attending the Shine the Light campaign launch in Victoria Park on Thursday (Nov. 1), he issued a statement supporting the event and the cause it supports.
Shine the Light, the largest public awareness campaign of the London Abused Women’s Centre (LAWC), runs through November, which is also Woman Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month across Ontario.
In a media release issued by the City of London on Thursday morning, Fontana said he is pleased the community can come together and support each other for this cause. In the release, Fontana said London residents “have a great ability to look beyond what is happening in their own space and work together for the benefit of others. The Shine the Light campaign not only brings much needed attention to the issues surrounding the abuse of women but gives our community a chance to stand together, to recognize the efforts of many.”
On Tuesday (Oct. 30), a statement from LAWC’s board chair Sandra Blamires, on behalf of the board of directors, was released to the media, asking the mayor to reconsider his intention to attend the launch.
“The London Abused Women’s Centre has asked Mayor Fontana to reconsider his attendance at LAWC’s Shine the Light on Woman Abuse campaign launch. LAWC’s mission is to provide long term feminist counselling, advocacy and support to abused women. The London Abused Women's Centre prefers the focus of its Shine the Light on Woman Abuse Campaign Victoria Park launch to be solely focused on this campaign without distraction.”
Although the mayor was unavailable for comment, his office did release a statement on Wednesday stating Fontana attended more than 350 events last year. And although he won’t be attending the campaign launch, it is not unusual for council members to stand in for the mayor when he is unavailable or double booked.
The agenda for Thursday’s campaign event includes comments from London city manager Art Zuidema, along with LAWC Executive Director Megan Walker, Thames Valley District School Board Director of Education Bill Tucker and Police Chief Brad Duncan.
Following the official launch in Victoria Park, city hall will be bathed in purple spotlight for the month of November. The annual campaign aims to turn the city of London purple to raise awareness about woman abuse and heighten the profile of agencies in our community who provide help.
In the media release, Fontana also encourages London residents to show their support for the campaign and the message it supports.
“Please wear purple to show you care and that you understand how the actions of individuals can make a significant and positive impact for our families, neighbours and colleagues.”
The City of London is also encouraging everyone to wear purple on Nov. 15, designated as Wear Purple Day. The city is inviting local businesses, schools, places of worship, apartments and homes to decorate with purple lights, balloons, streamers or any other purple supplies.
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