Photo: Ashley Reed. Participants on the steps of the Supreme Court building on the Grand Concourse at the ally at the fifth annual 5k run/walk/roll against domestic violence.

At her fifth annual 5K Run/Walk/Roll against domestic violence, Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark joined Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson to announce a $1 million federal grant to improve the criminal justice response to domestic violence cases in the Bronx.

Clark said the money will be provided over the next three years to enhance investigations into cyber stalking and improve response to strangulation crimes which she states is a “bellwether sign to homicide.” The funds will also go to assist victims and survivors of abuse.

Their offices partnered with the New York City Department of Probation, the New York City Police Department, Safe Horizon, and the New York Legal Assistance Group to secure the grant. 

“That is real money that is going to make a real impact, a real difference, and save lives,” Gibson told the crowd of about 500 who showed up for Saturday’s event that combined athletics with activism. 

Participants ran, walked, rolled, and danced down 161 Street near the Grand Concourse, while Ray Charles’ “America the Beautiful” filled the streets.  The color purple – signifying October as Domestic Violence Month – was everywhere, adorning hats, shirts, banners, sneakers, even lipstick.

Earlier this month, Gibson joined the district attorney’s office to announce plans to combat the high number of intimate partner homicides in the Bronx with the relaunch of the Domestic Violence Advisory Council.  They cited NYPD domestic violence data from 2015-2020 showing more than half of the community boards with the highest rates of intimate partner homicides citywide were from the Bronx.  The worst numbers recorded were from neighborhoods that include Claremont, Crotona Park, Melrose, Morrisania, Bathgate and Belmont .

At the 5K event, volunteers held up signs with motivational quotes in English and Spanish while Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor” blasted through the speakers on the street. “You heard the song, said Gibson to the crowd.  “We are survivors of our circumstance; we are here to walk in solidarity with all the victims and remind them that all hope is not lost.” 

There were no dry eyes while two brave Bronx women shared their stories of intimate partner violence. The crowd encouraged them with shouts of support as they detailed the traumatic abuse they suffered through for years.

Both women expressed gratitude to the NYPD and the Bronx district attorney’s office for helping them finally escape their abusers and providing them with legal and mental health services.

“They gave me a feeling of community,” said one survivor. “They were the light in this dark tunnel that I had been walking in.”

The Bronx Borough president’s office will continue to host events to spread awareness throughout the month.

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