It was an evening dedicated to Domestic Violence Month. October marks the month of awareness, responsiveness and appreciation of those who have fought through the disparagement of such sickness at the hands of their abuser. On Saturday evening, October 24, 2015 the beautiful decorum of purple and gold lit the room of the Georgia Piedmont Technical College events hall, as master artist Will Henry painted on his canvas to the words that flowed from the host and victims on that evening.
Many gathered to celebrate this occasion “Living Behind the Mask” Masquerade Ball. Rhonda Thompson, Rose of Sharon Transitional founder, begin her speech with a very powerful demonstration. She stood in front of the stage in an elegant purple gown with a white crisp 8×11 piece of paper in her hand, she asked the crowd to blurt out mean-harsh-words the abuser may have said to their victim. The audience began to spew out awful, angry, hurtful, demeaning and derogatory words as Thompson began to crush, bend and wrinkle the paper she was holding until there was nothing left but a ball of indented perforations. She then slowly opened the paper which represented the healing process; however the indentations were still there.
What was Thompson demonstrating? What was she trying to reveal to her attentive spell-bound audience as she unrivaled the paper? The room was silent…..You may be fixed but the indentations of the domestic violence still remains, “the paper may be restored, but it will never be the same again” said Thompson. Heads hung down, tears flowed from such a powerful manifestation that gave credence to the quote, “Stick and Stones may break my bones and names can never hurt me” BUT…. they will leave indentations. You can be free!
Then the celebration begins. The night was filled with intense encouragement, tearful testimonies and contagious girl power through dance, a fashion show, networking, food and laughter.
Atlanta’s first lady Sarah Elizabeth Reed congratulated the survivors for their strength and courage. She also commended the nonprofit organizations, The Rose of Sharon Transitional and Beverly Cunningham Outreach Program, founder Roderick Cunningham, for their hard work in the community. Thompson honored these prominent women of Atlanta for overcoming domestic violence. These survivors included; actress Andrea Kelly, Janet Jackson of Boss Chix of ATL, gospel singer Carlett Martin, actress and domestic violence advocate Jodine Basterash, speaker and author Sharon Willingham, radio host Kristel Shanell and Kendra Turner of S.O.D.A (Survivor of Domestic Abuse). Deborah Hightower Co-Author and Recording artist hosted the event as she serenades the crowd. Elevated Places Dance Company performed and there was a trendy fashion show hosted by Jasmine Crowe of Celebrity Black Giving, a radio host and life coach.
If you would like to learn more about Rhonda Thompson, founder of The Rose of Sharon Transitional and Beverly Cunningham Outreach Program, visit: