Monday, July 23, 2018

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Break The Silence advocates. Break The Silence advocates.

Taking Action, Making A Difference

SDSU hosts a conference dedicated to building leaders and advocates for change.
By Kristin Riemedio

The first day of the month can mean many things for San Diego State University students – the day rent is due, the first day of a new job or it can simply mean a day for change. This Nov. 1 SDSU’s Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center will be hosting the 2nd Annual Diversity Takes Action Conference presented by Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence.

“We are providing a free opportunity for students and members of the community to learn about domestic violence and become more knowledgeable in identifying unhealthy patterns and behaviors in relationships,” said SDSU alumnae Kristen Paruginog, ’13, the founder and executive director of Break the Silence. “As a survivor, it is my goal to educate as many people as possible and to be a resource for victims and survivors of domestic violence.”

The keynote speaker for the event is Miss America 2015, Kira Kazantsev. She is a survivor of domestic violence and an advocate for domestic violence awareness through her own platform, Love Doesn’t Hurt: Protecting Women Against Violence.

Education and advocacy

The conference, which is free to attend, is open to all SDSU students, alumni and community member. It consists of 15 workshops that aim to educate the community on the dangers of domestic violence, provide resources available to victims and offer encouragement to become advocates of change so people can stand up against domestic violence.

Attendees also have the opportunity to receive a scholarship from Break the Silence by participating in an essay contest. The organization is looking for students who are active in the community and can benefit from the scholarship, which provides hope to students and while giving them an opportunity to further their education.

The essay prompt will be about combating domestic violence. Students who want to apply for the scholarship must attend the conference to receive the application and take part in a scholarship workshop.

Paruginog added, “When I attended SDSU, I was a victim of domestic violence. School was my safe place where I could dive into learning and make a future for myself. I strongly believe this opportunity could help push students to continue their educational goals.”

Directly following the conference from 3 to 5 p.m., Break the Silence is also presenting Remembering Our Angels: a Candlelight Vigil to honor victims and their families, celebrate the strength of survivors and announce the community’s commitment to combatting domestic violence. There will be performances throughout the event and survivors and their families will have the opportunity to speak.

Break the Silence

Break the Silence is a nonprofit organization founded in 2011. Its mission is to educate communities on the dangers of domestic violence, connect victims and survivors and assist in the transformation of lives of victims of domestic violence by providing a personal development retreat, educational programs and an advocate hotline.

Online registration for the conference is still open. Lunch is provided for those who register ahead of time, but anyone is welcome to attend the conference on the day of the event.