FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 24, 2014
CONTACT: Peter Van Delft
Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins recently welcomed Reverend Liz Walker to the Suffolk County House of Correction as part of a Domestic Violence Awareness Month program aimed at providing resources, information and inspiration to women incarcerated at the facility.
An information table was set up for participants of the event with literature from organizations that included: the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC); Casa Myrna; DOVE, Inc.; Jane Doe, Inc.; Project Place; and Rosie’s Place, among others.
Presenting to participants of Women’s Programming, Rev. Walker – the Senior Pastor of Roxbury Presbyterian Church – spoke about her days as a celebrity newscaster for WBZ–TV, her life–changing visit to Africa’s Sudan, and her transformation from journalist to faith leader.
Providing the introduction to the program, Sheriff Tompkins spoke about both the purpose of the event and its special guest presenter.
“I’ve known Reverend Walker for quite some time now, and I’ve watched her trajectory since the early days – some 20 years ago – as an anchor on WBZ,” said Sheriff Tompkins. “And, at the height of her career, seeing the great need that existed around her, she chose to commit herself to a life of service to others. That’s why she’s here today – to offer you her service and speak to you about making positive changes in your lives.”
Talking about her time in Sudan where she witnessed the tragic effects of civil war and learned about the great resilience of the women who – despite the atrocities visited upon them as victims of the slave trade – managed to persevere, Rev. Walker delivered a message of hope and possibility.
“Don’t let anyone else write your story,” Reverend Walker told the assembly. “You can get through this. You are stronger than that. I don’t care what your issue is. I’ve seen women who have had nothing at all but each other and they got up and made it through. It’s not easy. It’s hard…really hard. But, you have it inside of you. If you fall down, if you mess up, get up and keep going. You can do this.”
Following her address, Rev. Walker was presented by Director of Women’s Programming Christina Ruccio with a book composed of writings by members of the program, which included an essay that was performed by Women’s Programming participant Marla Wright.
Following the program, Sheriff Tompkins spoke about the great potential impact that it could have on its target audience.
“Reverend Walker’s message was about persevering through adversity and about the inherent value of every person,” said Sheriff Tompkins. “The women that we have with us are mothers, sisters, daughters and wives who, for whatever reason or set of circumstances, have fallen off the path and landed in prison. It’s what they did, not who they are, and Reverend Walker’s message – which resonates with what we do here every day – is that it is possible to pick yourself up and get back on the right path.”