By Alex Hummel, Voices of Men Leadership Team
After 10 transformative years, the Calls to Action continue. They must. On Nov. 21, Fox Valley Voices of Men hosts its 10th Annual Call to Action event.
Ten years! It has been an honor and privilege to have the opportunity to work with so many courageous leaders, volunteers and sponsors to host these engaging, challenging and inspiring breakfast events. Each event has introduced our region to survivors, speakers, artists and leaders who move us to greater action as we work to change our culture and promote healthy manhood.
As our next Call to Action approaches next week, we have done a lot of reflecting. We asked ourselves: Where has Voices of Men made a difference? Where has it fallen short? What more must we do to honor the mission to build and live in a community free of domestic violence and sexual assault, where all are treated with dignity and respect?
Fox Valley Voices of Men itself has existed for 12 years. And, with our regional communities’ support and our domestic violence and sexual assault service agency-founders’ tireless leadership and guidance, we can say that have accomplished a lot.
Together, we created a Voices of Men “Friends Team” that activates and deploys volunteers to tackle our founding agencies’ greatest needs. Our Friends Team leverages professional expertise and giving spirits to help the nonprofit agencies modernize their computer systems, renovate shelter spaces and find new, strategic audiences and allies through educational training and lunch-and-learns at schools and workplaces.
We have worked with regional high school coaches to bring our message to sports teams and provide young athletes with the ideas and the tools that dismantle the “Man Box,” building a culture of healthy manhood. Coaches have helped us teach critical lessons about aggression on and off athletic fields and courts. They have reinforced ideas about respect and equality. They have helped remind boys that we have, and should express, more emotions than just anger. Doing so isn’t weak; it’s being safe and demonstrating strength of character.
We have lent our voices in regional newspaper op-eds and, less visibly, corporate and community meetings, urging changes in policies and practices that can prevent violence and assault, while hopefully bringing justice to survivors.
We believe our collective work has changed hearts and minds. It has made a difference.
Can we do more? Without question. Which is why we continue our work and challenge ourselves to step up in new and different ways.
On Thursday, Nov. 21, we will invite another, approximately 1,000 men and women in this region to join us, to be counted. The Call to Action room is filling quickly. Register today at voicesofmen.com.
This year, we are honored to learn from guest speaker, survivor and author Janine Latus. We’ll engage in valuable table conversations. And we’ll once again pledge to make a change and a difference in companies, faith communities and even our families in the year ahead.
Again, the event is at 8 a.m. Thursday morning, Nov. 21 at the Red Lion Hotel Paper Valley in Appleton. Call to Action registration and more information is at voicesofmen.com.
Fox Valley Voices of Men looks forward to the next 10 years of change and progress as we help build a community free of domestic violence and sexual assault, where all are treated with dignity and respect.