County should approve Tribute Garden funding

Every nine seconds in the United States, a woman is assaulted or beaten. Every day, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends. These are not statistics. They are human beings: someone’s daughter, sister, mother; and sometimes, too, someone’s brother, son or father. Sadly, it is estimated that only 1 percent of all domestic violence victims come forward and seek help. Sadder still, victims who are murdered by their intimate partners are all too soon forgotten.

The Erie County Commission on the Status of Women is working with its community partners to make sure victims and survivors are not forgotten. Plans are under way to construct a living memorial, a Tribute Garden, located in a tranquil, safe spot in beautiful Isle View Park, along the river in Tonawanda.

This permanent public garden will be a space for peaceful reflection; a place to honor domestic violence victims, survivors and their families.

As importantly, the Tribute Garden will be a permanent, visible reminder to our community that domestic violence is wrong, encouraging victims – as well as witnesses to abuse – to speak up when it occurs. The Tribute Garden also will serve as a place to hold special events for the public to help raise awareness, with the goal to one day forever end the scourge of domestic violence in our community.

Earlier this year, the Commission on the Status of Women held its 4th Annual Break the Cycle Bike-a-Thon and Walk to raise money for the garden. We have raised approximately a third of the funds necessary to make this a reality. The need for this garden is evident. The realization of the garden is near.

Included in Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz’s proposed Erie County budget is $25,000 toward the Tribute Garden. These funds will go a long way toward making the garden a reality. The budget is now in the hands of the County Legislature and we trust they see the wisdom in approving this funding for a very worthy cause.

Beth Curtis & Amy Rath

Co-chairwomen, Erie County

Commission on the Status of Women