Verizon Joins Forces With Leading Civil Rights Groups to Address Domestic Violence

LOS ANGELES - Three Los Angeles-area civil rights groups teamed up with Verizon Friday (Feb. 2) to launch a campaign of awareness about domestic violence and encourage victims in the Latino, African-American and Asian communities to use the resources available to protect themselves.

The Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), the Los Angeles Urban League (LAUL) and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) are joining to create Los Angeles Domestic Violence Prevention Collaborative. The project is supported by a $1 million grant from the Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon.

Domestic violence is a serious problem within all communities and is further complicated by the cultural and linguistic barriers that prevent some domestic violence victims from seeking assistance. The Los Angeles Domestic Violence Prevention Collaborative will employ a culturally and linguistically sensitive, multi-pronged approach to reach specific ethnic communities through community education and outreach, development of multilingual materials, and collaborative media activities. 

"Domestic violence touches every segment of society, but while the problem is universal the solutions are not," said Tim McCallion, Verizon's West region president. "That is why Verizon is so proud to take part in this effort that will find solutions to make sure cultural differences do not prevent a victim from reaching out for help."

Stewart Kwoh, APALC's president and executive director, said, "Because of limited English skills, battered immigrant women face a more difficult time escaping the abuse. They experience tremendous difficulty in accessing shelters and financial assistance, and they do not have the assistance of a certified interpreter in court, in reporting complaints to the police or while getting information about their rights. Providing culturally sensitive information to our communities is a step toward empowering survivor women and children and building a healthier community."

Blair H. Taylor, president and CEO of the LAUL, said, "Domestic violence represents one of the most significant health and safety issues in the African-American community. In the health component of the League's new five-year strategic plan, domestic violence is right at the top of the list of issues requiring immediate redress in our community. We applaud Verizon's recognition of the severity of this problem."

John Trasviña, MALDEF's president and general counsel, said, "Domestic violence is a serious problem within the Latino community that often goes unreported to law enforcement agencies because of religious, cultural, language and socio-economic factors. This partnership is a step in the right direction to help eradicate domestic violence from communities of color throughout America."

The program aims to reach these underserved populations by developing domestic-violence campaigns in multiple languages and in a manner determined by the needs and sensitivities of the communities.

Because education is a key component in prevention, LAUL and MALDEF will create a domestic-violence prevention curriculum that will be implemented within their parent and youth leadership program.  While APALC's existing work includes providing domestic violence victims with in-language legal assistance, the grant will allow the organization to increase outreach through in-language public service announcements, community partnerships and multilingual materials. 

The $1 million grant is part of Verizon's $8 million commitment this year to improving the lives of Californians by supporting effective philanthropic organizations throughout the state.

About Verizon
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 59 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which operates one of the most expansive wholly owned global IP networks, and Verizon Telecom, which is deploying the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network to deliver the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services to customers.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon has a diverse workforce of approximately 242,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $88 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.

About the Verizon Foundation
The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, is committed to improving literacy and K-12 education; fostering awareness and prevention of domestic violence; and promoting the use of technology in health-care delivery.  In 2006, the foundation awarded more than $69 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the United States and abroad. The foundation also matched charitable donations from Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in $29 million in combined contributions. Under the foundation's Verizon Volunteer initiative, one of the nation's largest employee-volunteer programs, company employees and retirees have also contributed nearly 3 million hours of community service since Verizon's inception in 2000.  For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.

Founded in 1968, MALDEF, the nation's leading Latino legal organization, promotes and protects the rights of Latinos through advocacy, litigation, community education and outreach, leadership development, and higher education scholarships. For more information on MALDEF, please visit: www.maldef.org

Founded in 1983, the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating for civil rights, providing legal services and education, and building coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Pacific Americans and to create a more equitable and harmonious society. APALC is affiliated with the Asian American Justice Center (formerly known as NAPALC) in Washington, D.C.

About LAUL
Founded in 1921, the Los Angeles Urban League is Los Angeles' premier community organization in advancing equal opportunities on behalf of African Americans and other minority youths and adults through innovative job training, job placement, youth achievement and business development programs. Through its collective programs, services and advocacy activities and seven offices located in the Crenshaw District, South Los Angeles, and Pomona, the Los Angeles Urban League serves over 100,000 constituents annually. Blair H. Taylor serves as the President & CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League, one of the largest and most successful affiliates of the National Urban League, which has affiliates in 109 cities throughout the United States.