Carmen Harlan speaking at LACASA luncheon

Carmen Harlan is helping kick off Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Livingston County at a luncheon on Tuesday, Oct. 5.

I’m excited because as well as being a big fan of hers, I’ve seen the popular WDIV-Detroit news anchor speak in Livingston County before.

For all you newer Livingston County folks, once upon a time there used to be a huge, one-day happening called Womenfest, an interesting event, featuring sessions ranging from self-defense to dream interpretation to financial planning. One year there was also a session on “Women and the Internet” by yours truly. (I told you it was a long time ago!)

Carmen was one of the most popular Womenfest keynote speakers ever. She was gracious, smart, entertaining and funny. The audience was so charmed by her that the story I wrote for the local paper carried the headline, “Carmenfest.”

I am excited that LivingstonTalk is sponsoring Carmen’s appearance at the luncheon to kick off Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The event begins at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5, at The Opera House on Grand River Avenue in downtown Howell. Tickets are $40 each. (If you’re interested in purchasing a ticket, click here.) The Opera House is also a sponsor of the day’s events.

The luncheon benefits LACASA, the organization that runs our community’s domestic violence shelter and works with the victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse. I’ve been privileged to serve on the LACASA board of directors for nearly 17 years.

Also at the luncheon will be a showing of sculptures by Brighton artist Lilith Dorr titled, “The 13 Ladies: An Epic Journey of a Survivor,” a powerful exhibit about courage, strength and healing. The exhibit will also be open at no charge to the public from 2-7 p.m. Oct. 5; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 6; and in the windows of The Opera House on Oct. 7 and Oct. 8.

The annual candlelight vigil to remember and honor the victims of domestic violence will gather at The Opera House at 6:45 p.m. Oct. 5 and proceed to the lawn of the historic Livingston County Courthouse. It’s a powerful, emotional event, and the public is invited to attend.

I hope that you are able to be at one or all of these events.

For so many years, domestic violence existed as a nasty little secret behind closed doors. Physical and sexual violence in the home and against children are at the core of most of what ails us as a society. Physical and sexual violence destroys a person’s sense of self and worth; its nasty legacy stretches from generation to generation, bound by ties that are tight and difficult to break.

The only way we can break those ties is through a constant, concerted community effort.

That’s why Domestic Violence Awareness Month is so important, and that’s why Tuesday, Oct. 5, is such an important day in Livingston County.

I hope to see you at one of the activities on Oct. 5. You can also help by becoming a volunteer or making a donation to LACASA. Call (517) 548-1350 for information on how you can help.

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