U.S. Education Secretary Duncan and Attorney General Holder Meet with Youth Leaders and Their Parents to Discuss Teen Dating Violence

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U.S. Education Secretary Duncan and Attorney General Holder Meet with Youth Leaders and Their Parents to Discuss Teen Dating Violence

December 3, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As part of the Justice Department’s year-long commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Attorney General Eric Holder met today with teen leaders, their parents and program directors from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Start Strong: Building Healthy Teen Relationships. The discussion around teen dating violence was held in conjunction with nationwide events as part of the sixth It’s Time to Talk Day, organized annually by Liz Claiborne Inc. to draw national attention to the importance of talking about domestic violence, teen dating violence and intimate partner abuse.

“For too long, we’ve been unwilling to face the reality that teen dating violence occurs,” Secretary Duncan said. “It’s been a taboo subject folks would simply not talk about. But we can’t afford to do that anymore. Too many young people are getting hurt. We must all do our part to break the silence and work toward eliminating teen dating violence.”

“We must engage the broadest spectrum of community partners in order to stem youth violence, and a cornerstone of that partnership is young people themselves,” Attorney General Holder said. “The Department of Justice is committed to working with young people to develop innovative solutions to help prevent teen dating abuse.”

Start Strong, the largest initiative ever funded to target 11-to-14-year-olds to promote healthy relationships as the way to prevent teen dating violence and abuse, is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in collaboration with the Family Violence Prevention Fund. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Blue Shield of California Foundation are investing $18 million in 11 communities across the country to identify and evaluate the most promising pathways to stop dating violence and abuse before it starts. (The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is funding 10 sites around the country, and Blue Shield of California Foundation is funding one site in California.) The Family Violence Prevention Fund is the national program office for Start Strong. Youth representing four of the Start Strong East Coast sites, including Boston Public Health Commission, Boston; Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center, Bronx, New York; RYASAP, Bridgeport, Connecticut; and Sojourner House; Providence, Rhode Island; participated in today’s discussion.

Start Strong communities are working to create innovative prevention models that can be replicated across the country. Each community has developed a comprehensive plan that focuses on four core strategies involving education, policy change, community outreach and cutting-edge social marketing campaigns to empower teens to develop healthier relationships throughout their lives. For more information, go to: http://www.startstrongteens.org.

Liz Claiborne Inc. has organized It’s Time to Talk Day each year since 2004 to draw national attention to the importance of talking about domestic violence, teen dating violence and intimate partner abuse. Today’s event in Washington, D.C., is one of many being held across the country in schools, communities and state and local governments. For more information, go to: http://www.loveisnotabuse.com.

Today’s event is another segment of the Justice Department’s effort to raise public awareness on issues around violence against women, to reinforce and build coalitions among federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement and victim services communities, and to reinforce the goal of ending domestic and dating violence, sexual assault and stalking for men, women and children across the country. In addition to the organizations, activists and victim service providers in the field holding events today, the Justice Department has encouraged the more than 100 celebrity allies who have lent their names in support of the Department’s “Join the List” initiative to raise awareness with their fans, through web and fan sites, and social networking profiles.
A list of celebrity allies is below:

Aaron Eckhart - Actor
Alexis Bledel - Actress
Amanda Beard - Olympic Gold-Medal Swimmer
Amy Poehler - Actress, Comedienne
Ashley Judd - Actress
Barbara Walters - Journalist, Author, Television Host
Brian White - Actor
Chamique Holdsclaw - Atlanta Dream, WNBA
Chrisette Michele - Singer-songwriter
Christina Ricci - Actress
Common - Hip Hop Artist
Cuba Gooding, Jr. - Actor
Curtis Granderson - Detroit Tigers, MLB
Cynthia Cooper - Houston Comets, WNBA (Retired), Former NCAA and WNBA Coach, WNBA Hall of Fame Inductee
Daisy Fuentes - Television Personality
Dara Torres - 5-time Olympic Athlete
Debbie Allen - Actress, Choreographer, Director, Producer
Diane Keaton - Actress, Director, Producer
Dominique Dawes - Olympic Gold Medalist, Motivational Speaker, Activist
Ellen DeGeneres - Talk Show Host, Comedienne, Actress
Elisabeth Hasselbeck - Author, Television Host, Designer
Emily Blunt - Actress
Emmy Rossum- Actress, Singer-songwriter
Eva Mendes - Actress
Faith Hill - Singer, Actress
Fiona Apple - Singer-songwriter
Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon - Actress
Ginuwine - Singer
Idris Elba - Actor
Irene Bedard - Actress
Jaime Pressly - Actress
Jason Bateman - Actor
Jenna Fischer - Actress, Writer
Jennifer Love Hewitt - Actress
Joe Torre - Manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Founder of the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation
John Lithgow - Actor
Joy Behar - Comedienne, Author, Television Host, Actress
Judy Blume - Author
Kevin Spacey - Actor
Kristina Guerrero - Television Host
Kyra Sedgwick - Actress, Producer
Linda Fairstein - Author
Leeza Gibbons – Television/Radio Host, Producer
Leslie Morgan Steiner - Author
Lisa Leslie - Los Angeles Sparks, WNBA, Olympic Gold Medal Basketball Player
LisaRaye McCoy - Actress
Marcus Johnson -Musician
Mariska Hargitay - Actress, Founder and President of the Joyful Heart Foundation
Martina McBride - Singer-Songwriter
Matt Dillon - Actor
MC Lyte - Rap Pioneer, Songwriter, Actress, Activist
Melissa Joan Hart - Actress
Meryl Streep - Actress
Michael Bolton - Singer
Michelle Pfeiffer - Actress
Michelle Williams - Actress
Mira Sorvino - Actress
Nastia Liukin - Olympic Gold Medal Gymnast
NFL Players Association, in addition to the following players:
Adalius Thomas - New England Patriots
Brandon Moore - New York Jets
Darrell Green - Washington Redskins (Retired)
Drew Brees - New Orleans Saints
Erik Coleman - Atlanta Falcons
Gary Brackett - Indianapolis Colts
George Wilson - Buffalo Bills
Hank Fraley - Cleveland Browns
Jay Feely - New York Jets
Jerricho Cotchery - New York Jets
Kareem McKenzie - New York Giants
LaDainian Tomlinson - San Diego Chargers Muhsin Muhammad - Carolina Panthers
Nate Kaeding - San Diego Chargers
Quintin Mikell - Philadelphia Eagles
Shaun O’Hara - New York Giants
Steve Hutchinson - Minnesota Vikings
Nia Long - Actress, Director
Nicole Kidman - Actress, UNIFEM Goodwill Ambassador
Omar Epps - Actor
Padma Lakshmi - Television Host
Patti LaBelle - Singer, Songwriter, Actress, Author, Humanitarian
Paula Zahn - Journalist, Producer
Peter Hermann - Actor
Phylicia Rashad - Actress
Rebecca Romijn - Actress, Model
Ricky Martin - Singer
Robin Givens - Actress, Writer
Rosie Perez - Actress, Dancer, Choreographer
S. Epatha Merkerson - Actress
Sally Field – Actress
Salma Hayek - Actress, Director, Producer
Sam Jones III - Actor
Scarlett Johansson - Actress, Singer-songwriter
Sherri Shepherd - Comedienne, Actress, Television Host
Steve Buscemi - Actor, Director
Stockard Channing - Actress
Susan Sarandon - Actress
Teresa Weatherspoon - Los Angeles Sparks, WNBA (Retired), Coach of Louisiana Tech Women’s Basketball
Tim Roth - Actor
Tom Arnold - Actor
Tony Hawk - Skateboarder
U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team
Victor Rivas Rivers - Actor, Author, Activist
Vivica A. Fox - Actress, Director, Producer
Washington Mystics - WNBA
Washington Nationals - MLB
Whoopi Goldberg - Actress, Comedienne, Producer, Television Host
Wynton Marsalis - Musician
Zoe Saldana - Actress