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“Celebrate the work you do to help young people love themselves, their families and their communities”: Assembly Member Lara presents Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month Resolution

Blog post

Assembly Member Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) presented the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence (the Partnership) with a copy of Assembly Concurrent Resolution 101, declaring February 2012 as Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month at Peace Over Violence’s Violence Free Teens Conference, in Los Angeles on February 17, 2012. Assembly Member Lara spoke to an audience of 150 youth and adults and thanked us for the work we do to stop dating violence, which affects so many teens:

“Today is a day to celebrate the work you do to help young people love themselves, their families and their communities.” 

The Resolution is authored by Assembly Members Lara and Ma and sponsored by theCalifornia Partnership to End Domestic Violence. Over 60 Assembly Members signed on as co-authors: Assembly Members Alejo, Block, Bonilla, Butler, Campos, Fletcher, Gordon, Hall, Huffman, Mitchell, Monning, Swanson, Torres, Wieckowski, Williams, Achadjian,  Allen,   Ammiano,  Atkins,   Beall,   Bill Berryhill, Blumenfield, Bradford, Brownley, Buchanan, Charles Calderon, Carter, Chesbro, Cook, Davis, Dickinson, Eng, Feuer, Fong, Furutani, Beth Gaines, Galgiani, Gatto, Hagman, Harkey,  Hayashi, Roger Hernández, Hill, Huber, Hueso, Jeffries, Jones, Bonnie Lowenthal, Mansoor,  Mendoza, Miller, Nestande, Nielsen, Olsen, Pan, Perea, John A. Pérez, V. Manuel Pérez, Portantino, Skinner, Smyth, Solorio, Valadao, Wagner, and Yamada.

The Resolution encourages all Californians to observe Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month with programs and activities that raise awareness about the dynamics of teen dating violence, and support young people in learning the skills to have safe and healthy relationships.

He noted the importance of this work in light of the tragic murder of Cindi Santana by her ex-boyfriend, which took place at South East High School in South Gate, a community he represents.
Assembly Member Lara shared some of his own life story and his connections to domestic violence and bullying: 

“I know firsthand about these issues. My sister was a dating violence victim at an early age, starting in high school. And as an openly gay man, I dealt with bullying in schools. But now I am one of two openly gay Latino men proudly serving in the California Legislature in Sacramento. The lesson is, don’t let anyone stop you in your dreams. It’s all about believing in yourself.”

Assembly Member Lara stated that he intends to continue to work to prevent dating abuse: 

“I look forward to working with you to ensure our school districts are addressing dating violence. They need to know how to respond to it, and most importantly, they know how to educate students and their parents.”

He closed with some words of encouragement for the youth in the room:

 “To the young folks, si se puede. You are an inspiration. Stay above the non-sense, stay safe.”