Tonight at the Kennedy Center, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will be presenting the Vital Voices Global Trailblazer Award to Melinda French Gates because she redefines the role of women leaders in global development.
Wynona Ward is an unlikely hero. She grew up in poverty and abuse in rural West Fairlee, Vermont. Her alcoholic father first sexually assaulted her when she was three. He beat her, her mother, and her siblings. He molested her sisters too. And, her niece (his granddaughter) when she was three. The charges were dropped in that case because the toddler was deemed too young to testify.
A prosecutor, who had seen her in action, encouraged her to go to law school. She started law school at age 44 and earned her law degree from Vermont Law School in 1998 while working as a Schweitzer Fellow in the school’s legal clinic. She was named the 1998 Outstanding Law Student by Who’s Who. The experience inspired her to create Have Justice ~ Will Travel (HJWT) to serve women experiencing domestic violence in rural Vermont. She knew their stories. It was her story too.
Women often remain in violent relationships because they don’t have the money to get out. The Avon Foundation is hoping to change this.
In 2004, the Avon Foundaiton launched their Speak Out Against Domestic Violence campaign. So far, they’ve donated over $12 million to more than 400 domestic violence organizations.
He and other big city mayors have noticed the link between illegal gun ownership and homocides. Since these crimes take place on their watch, Mayors Against Illegal Guns are stepping up to the plate to fight the powerful gun lobby.