Today the blog Violence UnSilenced announced a huge leap forward in blog professionalism and infrastructure building. After 2 1/2 years of grassroots support by its founder, journalist Maggie Ginsberg-Schutz and a community of engaged writers and readers, Maggie has gathered a Board of Directors and is incorporating Violence UnSilenced as a non-profit organization. Violence UnSilence is making this change now in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month is observed annually, and is often marked by candlelight vigils and special awareness events. In local communities, sometimes this month is the only time a survivor speak-out is held. The need for attention is staggering: In this country alone, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men have been abused in their lifetimes, according to the CDC.
Violence UnSilenced IS awareness in action as a survivor speak-out platform year-round. Its evolution to non-profit status is incredibly exciting. I’ve joined the Board, because I’m passionate about Violence UnSilenced’s mission of creating awareness about domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse through a platform where survivors can be heard. Every blogger instantly understands the power in that. Just clicking on the “Survivors” tab on the site and seeing the long list of people who have spoken out is a testament to all that Violence UnSilenced has done and the ongoing need for the site.
Violence UnSilenced’s strengths remain the community of bloggers who have buoyed its development and who show up, post after post, to bear witness to the survivors’ stories. It’s really the definition of what the blogosphere does best: we listen, we share links to important stories, we comment letting people know they aren’t alone and that their words lead to awareness and action. The new structure won’t change that. Incorporation just means that all of that community support happens in an environment that is guided by accountable stewardship.
Today Maggie announced these blogosphere community members as the new Violence UnSilenced Board of Directors:
It’s very exciting to see a blog that so many bloggers have supported make the transition from grassroots, indie operation to incorporated status. In the same ways that professionalizing a blog or small business allows it to manage bigger projects and greater opportunities, a board will provide fiscal accountability and leadership to guide the ViolenceUnSilenced’s continued work. Maggie is getting help in making the transition from BizFilings, which provides business registration services. They are donating all of the filing processes she and the board need, and one of their registration specialists is helping every step of the way. I met the BizFilings team when they were a sponsor of the excellent BlogHer|bet conference, and I know several bloggers who have used their services to professionalize their own businesses. Their support is part of their ongoing thread of partnership in the blogosphere, and their commitment to Violence UnSilenced as a community-supported project speaks volumes about their respect for our community.
Maggie has been a force of visionary leadership and commitment in blogging, and Violence UnSilenced is one of those ideas that is so right and so necessary it’s no wonder bloggers have worked hard to support it. Many will be joining in by pledging support, whether for the first time or as a renewal of their existing support, in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and I hope you’ll do the same, and join me in congratulating Maggie for this amazing accomplishment!