Walking Into A New Life hosted “Real Men Wear Purple” on Saturday, March 21, 2012. The goal was to bring more awareness, advocacy and education regarding domestic violence and sexual assault from a male perspective. In addition, the idea was to advocate for more male mentoring and implementation of these issues into our churches, youth groups, ministries, etc.

Attendees were able to get information from a grand list of viable resources, from longstanding non-profits and grassroots organizations, to dignitaries,  individuals and community leaders who have taken a sincere interest in advocating for change. The panelists were of different races, ages, genders and backgrounds.

What happened on Saturday was truly a great experience. Everyone was open and very candid about their experiences, whether it be as a former batterer, a physical victim of abuse or a witness to it as a child and/or an adult. A young man received several male mentors.  A young lady took away some resources she can use to get help. A pastor received the same for someone who had just requested some information the day before. I could go on and on to describe the love and fellowship that was felt in the room. There was a lot of hurt shared and felt. But, there was a lot of hope and happiness expressed. No one regarded themselves as victims. Instead, I witnessed individuals in search of answers. I saw people who wanted to continue their victorious path to holistic healing.

I am absolutely overwhelmed with gratitude from everyone who came, who offered their physical and emotional support and believed in my vision to keep awareness and change on a positive note. This event was not a sad. It wasn’t a pity party. It wasn’t a gripe, badgering or blame game session. I wanted to show the community some men of honor, courage and strength. I wanted to show the community the need to embrace our young men and keep them from being a statistic. They need to see and know what it means to love themselves, how to  treat others with respect and become positive role models for their peers. I became even more inspired. I know that I’m doing the right thing by continuing my mission to stop domestic violence and help stabilize victims. Stay tuned for more innovation, collaboration and celebration of life. Get ready for the next phase of WIANL.