Verizon Wireless Sponsors Play To Raise Awareness Of Domestic Violence Among High School and College Students

LOUISVILLE, KY — Verizon Wireless will create an open dialogue in Kentucky about domestic violence awareness when later this month it sponsors "Cheap Sunglasses", a play about domestic violence and its effect on teenagers and adults. Collectively, approximately 1,500 11th and 12th graders from Louisville and Lexington high schools and college students from the University of Louisville and University of Kentucky will attend "Cheap Sunglasses" at various performances held from March 15 — 26 at the Thrust Theatre in Louisville and the Lexington Children's Theatre.

"Many of our young people are victims of date violence or know someone who has been abused or victimized," said Aukram Burton, diversity/multicultural specialist for the Department of Equity and Poverty Issues of Jefferson County Public Schools. "This play will help our young people and adults, alike, recognize the behaviors that perpetuate domestic and date violence. Identifying behaviors that cause these problems will ultimately assist in developing strategies necessary to stop the cycle of abuse and violence."

In addition to underwriting the play's production for area high schools and colleges, Verizon Wireless will also host a special VIP performance and reception for local community leaders and domestic violence awareness advocates on Wednesday, March 17, at the Clifton Center. Among other VIPs, former Kentucky First Lady Judi Patton is expected to attend.

During the special VIP performance, guests will have the opportunity to make a donation to the University of Kentucky's Center for Research on Violence Against Women. For each dollar raised for the Center, Verizon Wireless will contribute a dollar to one of three Kentucky domestic violence agencies, including The Center for Women and Families in Louisville.

The play is set in the present with flashbacks to the years 1968-1979. It follows the lives of seven characters, and its purpose is to dispel certain assumptions about domestic violence victims and their perpetrators, and to raise awareness about how to deal with this difficult issue. "Cheap Sunglasses", by James Mirrione, was originally commissioned in 2000 by the McCarter Theatre of Princeton, N.J., in association with the New Jersey Hospital Association. Following each play, a domestic violence expert will join the "Cheap Sunglasses" cast for a brief audience discussion about the issue.

"Verizon Wireless is committed to helping combat domestic violence through awareness and prevention," said Greg Haller, Verizon Wireless region president for Kentucky/Indiana/Michigan. "We hope this play will open the dialogue about domestic violence and raise awareness about how to deal with this issue. We want all people — young and old, married and single — to recognize the signs of domestic violence and to know that there are alternatives to this abusive lifestyle."

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