REACH Highlights Collaboration with Law Enforcement at Annual Meeting
On June 20, friends and supporters of REACH gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of the past year and look ahead to the future at our Annual Meeting. The meeting was held at the Massachusetts Medical Society conference center in Waltham which generously provided delicious food and drinks during the reception before the program started.
The evening consisted of a reception with food and drinks generously provided by Mass Medical, before the program for the evening began. Executive Director Laura Van Zandt began the evening by reflecting on the lives lost to domestic violence in the past year (also honored by the display of Silent Witnesses in the reception area), and asked us to reflect on the recent shooting in Virginia. “Whenever we hear of events such as these, those of us who work on domestic violence know there will be a history of domestic violence uncovered…We have to ask ourselves, how is something so predictable – and therefore potentially preventable – still so probable? In this moment, let’s recommit to creating healthier communities – for everyone – by ending domestic violence.”
Laura thanked outgoing Board Chair Heather Campbell for her service to REACH, and welcomed Stephen Langlois and Mary Ann Mattoon as the new Board president and vice president. After an update on the office move and developments over the past year, Laura introduced the Voice for Justice Awards.
Mary Dunne received the Ruth and Virginia Bigwood Award for her activism in the wake of the murder of her daughter, Lauren Dunne Astley, in 2011. Director of Prevention Programs Jessica Teperow, who has worked with Mary over the past several years, talked about their work together as she presented the award to Mary.
Director of Advocacy Maria Pizzimenti presented the Mary Young Award to Detective Linda Moschner of the Waltham Police Department with great appreciation for her work with REACH and other community partners on the Waltham High Risk Team.
The rest of the program featured a panel discussion focused on the different and complementary roles that advocates and law enforcement play in supporting survivors, and how we work together to share information that can keep survivors safe. The panelists included REACH Community Advocates Jenna Birkett and Blanca Huari, and Detective Moschner of the Waltham Police Department. The discussion was moderated by REACH’s Director of Advocacy Maria Pizzimenti.
Incoming Board President Stephen Langlois closed out the evening by thanking all of the attendees, panelists, and honorees, and challenging everyone to participate in REACH’s work to build healthy communities by ending domestic violence. He talked about the challenge of our new office space, but also the opportunity it represents. “I’ve been involved with REACH for over a decade, and I’ve never felt more confident that the future is bright for our organization, its incredibly committed and dedicated leadership, staff, volunteers – and community partners.”
View more photos from the evening