EAST WINDSOR: Communities of Light celebration a beacon of hope

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Mayor Janice S. Mironov recognizes and thanks members of the Domestic Violence Victim Response Team during the Township "Communities of Light" held at the Municipal Building

By Lea Kahn, Staff Writer
More than 200 people, including students from The Peddie School, turned out last week for East Windsor Township’s annual Communities of Light celebration.
The Peddie School students were on hand to help light luminaries – a candle in a paper bag – along the walkways at the East Windsor Township Municipal Building at 16 Lanning Boulevard. The luminaries symbolically shine a light on domestic violence.
The Communities of Light celebration, which was held Dec. 4 in towns across Mercer County, is a major fundraiser for Womanspace. The Lawrence Township-based non-profit group works with victims of domestic violence – women, children and men.
Mayor Janice Mironov and Township Council presented a proclamation acknowledging the fundraiser to retired East Windsor Township police chief William Spain, who serves on Womanspace’s board of trustees.
The purpose of the Communities of Light event is to raise money for Womanspace, as well as to raise public awareness of the resources and services available to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault through the non-profit group.
The Communities of Light also is intended to serve as a beacon of hope for individuals and families who are impacted by the dreadful situation of domestic violence, Mayor Mironov said.
“Our participation is to demonstrate our support of victims and their families, as well as recognition that domestic violence knows no boundaries and impacts every community regardless of race, religion or socio-economic background,” Mayor Mironov said.
“As a community, we wish to express our strong support for organizations like Womanspace and our local Domestic Violence Victims Response Team, and to recognize the important assistance they provide to victims of domestic violence,” she said.
“We hope that our participation will help focus public attention on the important subject of domestic violence and to encourage residents to become more aware of support efforts and resources available to victims and families,” the mayor said.
Womanspace has its roots in the Mercer County Commission on the Status of Women, which was created in 1976. During the initial public meetings, the issue of domestic violence quickly came to the forefront, according to www.Womanspace.org.
As a result of those meetings, a proposal was developed to provide services to women in crisis. The effort was spearheaded by the late Barbara Boggs Sigmund, who was serving on the Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders. She later became the mayor of the former Princeton Borough.
Sigmund – who is considered to be the founder of Womanspace – signed the original certificate of incorporation for the non-profit group in 1977, along with co-signers Deborah Metzger, Mary Ann Cannon, Ellen Belknap and Valorie Caffee.
Through its many programs over the past 40 years, Womanspace has helped more than 67,000 women, 13,000 children and 4,600 men who have been victims of domestic violence or sexual assault.