Leading Civil Rights Groups Unveil PSAs Addressing Domestic Violence in Communities of Color

LOS ANGELES - Three civil rights groups and Verizon today premiered a series of public service announcements that raise awareness of domestic violence and ways to prevent it in Southern California's Latino, African-American and Asian communities.

The 30-second PSAs in English, Spanish, Korean, Mandarin and Vietnamese provide domestic-violence victims with information about resources in their community they can use to protect themselves.

The PSAs, which were screened for the first time publicly today at the New Los Angeles Theater Center, will air on a variety of traditional and new media outlets reaching millions of potential viewers.

The project is sponsored by a $1 million grant from Verizon to the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), the Los Angeles Urban League (LAUL) and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF). The three nonprofit organizations created the Los Angeles Domestic Violence Prevention Collaborative (LADVPC), a cooperative alliance to raise domestic-violence awareness in their respective communities.

"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," said Tim McCallion, Verizon's West region president. "Verizon is proud to join with these three leading civil rights organizations to reach out to the victims of this violence - speaking their language and in ways that will resonate - and help them rise above their circumstances to make a better life for themselves and their children."

California state Sen. Mark Ridley-Thomas said, "Anyone can be a victim. Victims can be of any age, sex, race, culture, religion, education, employment or marital status. Most children in these homes know about the violence. Even if a child is not physically harmed, they may have emotional problems that may scar them for life. This program will help break that cycle of violence."

Stewart Kwoh, APALC's president and executive director, said, "The issue of language accessibility is one that resonates loudly and clearly for Asian Pacific American (APA) domestic violence victims. Isolated by language and culture, many battered APA women are forced to depend on their batterers for financial and emotional support, leaving them trapped in violent relationships. These PSAs, which have been translated into Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean, are an important part of APALC's outreach to victims and potential victims to make them aware of the in-language resources available through APALC and other partners."

Blair H. Taylor, LAUL's president and CEO, said, "Our young people need to know that dating abuse is unacceptable. They need to know that there are long-term consequences for their actions but they also need to know that we are willing to work with them to stop the violence. The Los Angeles Urban League's PSAs represent a comprehensive campaign aimed at educating youth on the importance of cultivating healthy relationships and raising the awareness of domestic violence in our community."

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.  The PSAs, available in both English and Spanish, will provide not only vital information on how to report and prevent domestic violence, but also the many forms of domestic violence, none of which are acceptable."

The LADVPC will continue to employ a culturally and linguistically sensitive, multi-pronged approach to reach specific ethnic communities through community education and outreach, development of multilingual materials, and media activities. As part of the collaborative, each civil rights organization has developed several domestic violence outreaches in multiple languages that meet the needs and sensitivities of the organizations' respective communities.  

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 63.7 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon has a diverse workforce of nearly 238,000 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 through its signature program Thinkfinity.org; 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.

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.