Summer 2016 Newsletter - Sojourner Family Peace Center
Transforming lives impacted by domestic violence.
Monday, April 25, 2016
Representatives from our Campus Sponsor, the Charles E. Benidt Foundation: Bea Benidt Webster, President;
Lee J. Mevis, Director; Maureen E. Crowley, Program Director; with Carmen Pitre, Sojourner President & CEO
PHOTO: ARTEMIO MONTES, ARTEMIOPHOTO
WHO WAS SOJOURNER TRUTH?
Our crisis housing facility for women and children, Sojourner Truth House, is a tribute to “Belle,” a woman
born into slavery in 1797. In 1843 she walked onto the pages of history when she became Sojourner – God’s
pilgrim. A second name – Truth – came to her “in a voice as true as God’s is.” Sojourner Truth traveled
widely, speaking about slavery and women’s rights and the dignity of all people.
Sojourner staff and guests gathered
on April 25 to dedicate the Family
Peace Center Campus to Sojourner
Truth. It was a wonderful opportunity
to celebrate our campus sponsor,
the Charles E. Benidt Foundation,
as well as the legacy of Sojourner
Truth. With more than 100 attendees
including Charles E. Benidt Foundation
President Bea Benidt Webster, former
Sojourner Truth House Directors,
and Sojourner Board Members, the
event was a celebration of hope and
Gwen Moore and Mayor Tom Barrett
provided passionate comments on
our history and future in Milwaukee.
The highlight of the event was the
reading of Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a
Woman” speech by local actor Phyllis
Easley-Headd. Guests were invited to
place a rose at the feet of our life-sized
statue of Sojourner Truth, installed
outside the Family Peace Center front
entrance, near the corner of 6th and
Unveiling Sojourner Truth
Who was Sojourner Truth?
Sojourner Truth was born into slavery
in Swartekill, New York around
1797. Her given name was Isabella
Baumfree. She was an advocate for
social justice and a strong believer
in the rights of women at a time
when women were legally bound
Why do we honor her?
Sojourner Truth was a woman of fierce
determination who succeeded against
all odds. She embodies our beliefs and
what we strive to achieve in our mission,
and she reminds us of the importance
of courage, equality, and perseverance.
As an organization, Sojourner was
founded to protect battered women and
their children. Our beliefs echo those of
Sojourner: that everyone has the right to
be free from abuse and live peacefully.
TOP: U.S. Congresswoman Gwen Moore with
BOTTOM: Sojourner staff Betty Suarez and
Mari Rodriguez offer roses to guests.
to their fathers and husbands.
Sojourner Truth walked to freedom in
1826 and was the first black woman
to win a legal case over a white
man when she successfully won the
right to free her son, who had been
illegally taken to the South as a slave.
In 1843, Isabella Baumfree changed
her name to Sojourner Truth,
devoting her life to Methodism and
the abolition of slavery.
How do we continue to honor the
legacy of Sojourner Truth?
As our organization has evolved over
the last 40 years, we have remained
committed to honoring the legacy
of Sojourner Truth. Sojourner
Truth House, our Crisis Housing for
women and children, will always
retain this inspirational name. Our
new Sojourner Truth House, located
in the Family Peace Center, has 23
bedrooms, all of which are named
after one of Sojourner’s children
or grandchildren. This spring, we
installed a 6-foot bronze statue of
Sojourner Truth outside the main
entrance of the Family Peace Center.
It features her signature on the base
and is lit at night.
Like Sojourner Truth, we support
the bravery of our clients as they
transform their lives. They are our
inspiration for a vision of safe and
healthy families in every home in our
community. With violence in homes at
record levels, we remain committed
to providing crisis housing, system
advocacy, and individual support.
“The Lord gave me Sojourner
because I was to travel up and
down the land . . . The Lord
gave me Truth because I was to
declare truth unto the people.”
PHOTOS: ARTEMIO MONTES, ARTEMIOPHOTO
Takes a Stand Against
Sydney and friends from Girl Scout Troops 4678 and 8306 deliver cookies to Sojourner.
We first met Sydney and her mother
Kari at our Family Peace Center
Grand Opening on February 4, 2016.
Sydney chose Sojourner Truth as
the subject of a report for her fifth
grade class. We were astonished by
her knowledge of the life and work of
Sojourner Truth. Sydney’s generous
spirit led her to become interested in
Sojourner Family Peace Center.
At our Grand Opening, Sydney
and her mother learned about our
mission and the partnerships in the
Family Peace Center. They were very
interested in staying connected to
us. With the support of her family,
Sydney held a “bowl-a-thon” where
she received more than $800 in
donations that she then used to
purchase items from our
In March, Sydney returned with
her friends from Girl Scout Troops
4678 and 8306, and donated five
cases of Girl Scout Cookies for our
clients to enjoy.
In April, Sydney and her mom
attended our Campus Dedication
Ceremony. She particularly liked the
reading of Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a
Woman” speech, and was very excited
to have her picture taken with Mayor
Barrett and Congresswoman Gwen
Moore. We are so glad she was able
to attend the event and we are very
grateful for her generosity and
Youth Summits Engage 350 Local Teens
One of Sojourner’s focus areas is
the reduction of dating violence
and the encouragement of healthy
relationships among teenagers in
Milwaukee. Sojourner hosted six
Healthy Dating Youth Summits in early
2016. Students attended from Alliance,
Riverside, Barack Obama High School,
Lincoln Middle School, and others.
Summits were held in the Family Peace
Center, with more than 350 students in
total at all six events.
The theme of this year’s
Fourth Annual Summit was
included understanding unhealthy
relationships, fundamentals of
healthy relationships, red flags and
warning signs, power and control,
and getting help and helping others.
At the end of the workshops,
students completed surveys to
measure their knowledge. Results of
the surveys are encouraging:
Alexian Village is a complete retirement
community maintained by the Alexian
Brothers, a Catholic Order nearly 800
years old. For the fifth year in a row,
staff and residents at Alexian Village in
Milwaukee held a luncheon to benefit
Sojourner. “So many of us are either
directly affected or know someone
who’s been victimized. This is one event
Alexian uses to raise our awareness,”
said Jessi Smedal, Alexian Village’s
chaplain. Those attending were invited
to wear purple in honor of those who
have been victimized.
We are grateful to the staff, residents,
and area businesses who participated,
volunteered, or donated to this event.
Gifts from Alexian Village over the last
five years have provided critical services
such as crisis housing, system advocacy,
and individual support to our families.
97% were satisfied with the event
95% increased their knowledge of
80% of participants could identify
emotional and physical abuse
77% learned a strategy to address
abuse in a relationship
76% could identify at least one
warning sign of dating abuse
We are grateful to the Greater Milwaukee
Foundation and the Greater Milwaukee
Association of Realtors Youth Foundation
for funding this project, and to the Zilber
Family Foundation for their support of
our Education Center.
Our next step to impact youth is
Sojourner’s new Youth Leadership
Retreat, funded by Milwaukee Public
Schools. This overnight retreat for young
people is designed to empower youth
to be leaders in their community and
to promote peace and participation in
service activities. Quarterly follow-up
conversations with youth leaders will help
mold future community advocates.
Sojourner Tailgate for Peace 2016
Many thanks to our generous sponsors!
Thank you to our Sojourner Tailgate for Peace 2016
sponsors, attendees, auction and raffle donors,
volunteers, and committee members who cheered
on the Brewers with us at Miller Park’s Dew Deck.
This fundraising event—featuring a buffet, silent
auction, raffle, rock climbing wall, and more—
brought together nearly 260 community leaders and
Revenue from this event helps more than 9,500
adults and children each year who seek to recover
from domestic violence and rebuild their lives.
Your participation provides crisis housing, system
advocacy, and individual support to women, men,
and children in Greater Milwaukee. We are truly
grateful for your investment in our mission.
Matching Gift Sponsor: Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP
With your continued help, everyone
can be safe at home.
Summer Wish List
Help Kids Succeed. Donate
School Supplies Today!
Children in crisis housing have had their lives disrupted
by violence in their homes. You can help by providing
school supplies so they can succeed in school!
We have a constant need for school supplies, including
backpacks. We distribute them to children throughout
the year when their families seek Sojourner services.
Our goal is to secure school supplies for 200 children
by September 1, 2016. Can we count on you?
Please consider contributing goods from our wish list
as well. Your generosity ensures that Sojourner families
have the resources they need to rebuild their lives.
Your donations may be dropped off at:
Family Peace Center
619 W. Walnut Street
Milwaukee, WI, 53212
Due to space limitations, we are able to accept only new items.
Our current Sojourner Wish List is also available on
Amazon.com. Enter Sojourner Family Peace Center
into Amazon.com’s wish list search engine, select
the items you would like to donate, and purchase
them. Amazon will ship them directly to us! Please
include your name and address in the notes section
so we can properly thank you.
Thank you for helping families
transform their lives.
• Folders, paper
• Pens, pencils
• Markers, crayons
• Colored pencils
• Glue, glue sticks
• Infant crib sheets
• Pack ’n play sheets
• Twin extra-long sheets,
blankets, mattress pads
• First Aid Supplies
• Medicine (cold & cough,
• Pull-ups and disposable
diapers, size 3, 4, 5
• Baby wipes, shampoo,
• Infant formula, baby food
CHILDREN AND TEENS
• Hoodies & sports apparel
• Brushes, combs
• Shower gel
• Board and card games,
puzzles, art supplies
• Lego and Duplo blocks
• Basketballs, soccer balls,
Sleepwear, size M-3XL
• Bus tickets and M-Cards
• Gift cards: Target, Kohl’s,
Walmart, Pick ‘n’ Save
• White bath & hand
• New small appliances
(microwaves, coffee pots,
• New dish sets,
silverware, pots & pans
Sojourner Fashion Show 2016 Exceeds Goal!
Omar and Connie Shaikh
The lights, the glitz, the glamor,
the fashion—you made it all
happen. Your commitment
to our work shone brightly at
our Sojourner Fashion Show
presented by Harley-Davidson
Motor Company. We truly
appreciate your time, talent,
and treasure. The evening
was a terrific success—more
than $200,000 was secured to
assist families in need of our
programs and services!
Our Sojourner Fashion
Show was made possible
through the support and
commitment of our models and retailers:
Hair and makeup services were
generously provided by Neroli
Salon & Spa.
Special thanks to our event hosts
Connie and Omar Shaikh and
featured guests Thelma Sias,
Cecelia Gore, Jonathan Lucroy,
and Larissa and Ryan Braun.
Our sincere thanks to our planning
committee members, volunteers,
Kim “Vinnie” Vincent of
WKLH rings the gong after
making a gift to Sojourner
Safe & Healthy 24.
Carmen Pitre of Sojourner,
second from left, joins the
WKLH Workforce Tour LIVE
broadcast crew: Dorene
Michaels, John McGivern,
and Dave Luczak
and silent and live auction donors.
You made our success possible!
Our Generous Sponsors
Bare Beauty Skin LLC
Creating Custom Events
Gruber Law Offices, LLC
Hupy and Abraham S.C.
Milwaukee Business Journal
Moët Hennessy USA
Roundy’s Supermarkets, Inc.
Summit Credit Union
von Briesen & Roper, s.c
Zimmerman Architectural Studio
Attorney Jason Abraham
Carlene & Buddy Julius
Kaye & Mark Kass
Marina Mathieu Kuhn
Keri Lynn SanFelippo
Alta & Gee Smith
Thank you for transforming lives
impacted by domestic violence!
We look forward to seeing you
at our Sojourner Fashion Show
in Spring 2017! Date to be
To view Sojourner Fashion Show
2016 photos, visit Sojourner Family
Peace Center’s Facebook page.
Sojourner Safe & Healthy 24 Success!
It Starts with You and Ends with Safe and Healthy Families
We are grateful! On March
18, 2016, we held our first
independent 24-hour giving
event. You made it an
outstanding success! Through
the dedication of committed
donors, partners, board members, and
volunteers such as you, we secured nearly
$150,000 for our annual campaign.
Your gift provides lifesaving services such
as crisis housing, safety planning, and
emergency restraining orders to families
in our community. Your support ensures
that families across Milwaukee receive
the education and resources they need to
rebuild their lives. Thank you for being part
of this transformational work!
Special thanks to Dave Luczak and the WKLH
Morning Crew for broadcasting live from the
Family Peace Center to launch our Sojourner
Safe & Healthy 24 effort.
619 W. Walnut Street
Milwaukee, WI 53212
PERMIT NO. 5340
Visit us at www.familypeacecenter.org
President & CEO
We need your help to
sustain our essential
Please make your gift today.
Your contribution ensures
that valuable programming
continues through the end
of the year.
Please make checks
619 W. Walnut Street
Milwaukee, WI 53212
Donate online at:
STAY CONNECTED WITH SOJOURNER FAMILY PEACE CENTER
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Smith Group, Ltd
BMO Financial Group
Aurora Health Care
Johnson Controls, Inc.
Real Estate, LLC
District Attorney’s Office
Velez & Associates
Betsy Brown Wyatt
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This newsletter is supported in part by Victims of Crime Act Subgrant No. 2015-VO-01-11345 awarded by the Wisconsin Department of Justice Ofﬁce of Crime Victim Services
under a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime. The opinions, ﬁndings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication do not
necessarily reﬂect the views of the grantor agencies.