C L Magazine Volume 6 - Winter | Spring Issue 2020

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Volume 6

Winter | S pr in g 2020


Susie Rivers: A Treasured Hospice Volunteer Phillip Germany, II Says Strength Training Can Help Us Lose Fat and Reduce Aging! 2 Great Recipes for Super Salsa Dips CAREER & LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

Let’s Slow the Virus and Slow the Violence

Melissa K. Graves Chief Executive Officer Domestic Violence & Child Advocacy Center


Karen M. Marshall Executive Director Black Professionals Association Charitable Foundation



COMMUNITIES. At Dominion Energy Ohio, going the distance for our customers means more than just delivering safe, affordable natural gas. It means being a positive force in the communities we serve. Our EnergyShareÂŽ program has raised $6.8 million and helped more than 70,000 people in Ohio alone. These resources, combined with more than 6,300 volunteer hours from our employees, have benefited organizations as diverse as the American Red Cross, the Boy Scouts of America and the Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition.

contents 6

Susie Rivers Provides a Comforting Presence by Laurie Henrichsen Profile of a treasured Hospice volunteer.


Book Club Suggestions While you work from home, entertain yourself, and expand your worldview with these best-selling books!


Recipes Two super salsa recipes by Chef Linda D. Bradley, MD from the Celebrate Sisterhood® cookbook!


Executive Profile: Karen M. Marshall A former Clevelander returns home to lead a local non-profit organization embarking on its 40th year: the Black Professionals Association Charitable Foundation (BPACF).


How You Can Lose Fat, Reduce Aging, and Feel Great with Strength Training by Phillip Germany, II A must read!


Impact of Domestic Violence: One Woman’s Tragic Story by Anonymous


When Home Isn’t a Safe Place by Melissa Graves, Megan Gergen, and Molly Kaplan Domestic Violence & Child Advocacy Center (DVCAC) ON THE COVER:

A graphic of Covid-19, the coronavirus that continues its’ path of pain throughout America and the world. INSET PHOTOS:

Two local non-profit executives: Melissa K. Graves and Karen M. Marshall

WINTER | SPRING 2020 | 3

CL Magazine Team Publisher and Chief Editorial Officer Alexandria Johnson Boone Creative Director Jennifer Coiley Dial Senior Copy Editor Michelle E. Urquhart Business Manager Paula T. Newman Assistant to the Publisher Bernadette K. Mayfield Senior Strategist, Subscriber & Community Development Simone E. Swanson Database and Information Coordinator Cheretta Moore For advertising information please contact us at: advertising@CL-Magazine.com Subscribe free online: www.CL-Magazine.com

CLMagazine_ CLMagazine_ CLMagazine C L Magazine is published digitally on a quarterly basis by the Women of Color Foundation (WOCF), a 501 (c) (3), tax-exempt organization, for the benefit of women and girls of all colors. Our offices are located at 4200 Warrensville Center Road, Medical Building A, Suite 353, Cleveland, Ohio 44122. Toll Free Phone number: 866.962-3411 (866.WOCF.411). Copyright Š 2014-2020. All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be distributed electronically, reproduced or duplicated in whole or in part, without written permission of the publisher. Readers and advertisers may subscribe for free at: www.CL-Magazine.com Magazine Production: GAP Communications Group



Publisher’s LETTER Dear Friends and Supporters, As we face a pandemic in the form of a corona virus, we must now take a serious look at how we go about our daily lives. Admittedly, many Americans have long enjoyed our precious freedoms, numerous indulgences and financial, career and social advantages. Yes, we are indeed privileged and used to the good life. But there’s a new sheriff in town. A disease whose sole purpose is to infect and kill Americans and our brothers and sisters around the globe. An invisible threat, that is both detectible and undetectable; and does not discriminate. So, how do we defeat this unwelcome visitor in our homes, places of worship, workplaces, hospitals and schools? Simply stated, we band together as human beings, not as separate groups sharing the same planet. Here are some important tips on how you and your loved can stay safe and healthy during this critical time: • Stay home if you can and avoid any nonessential travel. Avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people • Wear a cloth face cover or mask when going out in public, such as going to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities, as recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). • Practice social distancing by keeping at least 6 feet — about two arm lengths — away from others if you must go out in public. Stay connected with loved ones through video and phone calls, texts and social media. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being

in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. • Clean and disinfect household surfaces daily and high-touch surfaces frequently throughout the day. High-touch surfaces include phones, remote controls, counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables. • Cover your coughs and sneezes. Use a tissue to cover your nose & mouth; and throw used tissues in a lined trash can. If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into your elbow — not your hands. Wash your hands immediately. For more information, please visit: www. coronavirus.gov and please remember to thank all the first responders, medical professionals, police and fire professionals, healthcare workers, food service workers and volunteers who are risking their lives every day to keep us safe. We will never be the way we were. But we can emerge victorious by working together to achieve and embrace, our new normal. In the spirit of the greatness in us all,

Alexandria Johnson Boone Publisher/Chief Editorial Officer and Chairwoman/Founder Women of Color Foundation WINTER | SPRING 2020 | 5


Susie Rivers Provides a Comforting Presence

by Laurie Henrichsen

“Patient ambassador” may not be an official job title, but it’s an accurate description of how Susie Rivers views her role as a Hospice of the Western Reserve volunteer. An ambassador serves as a diplomat, envoy, peacekeeper, go-between and emissary. At any given time, Susie is all of these things and more to the hospice patients and families she supports.

she said. “Not everybody is comfortable speaking about their experiences with death and dying. I thought, ‘If I can make a connection earlier, that might be a good thing.’”

A sociology major who earned her undergraduate degree from Alabama A & M University in Huntsville, Susie went on to earn a Master’s degree in social services from Case Western Reserve University, and pursued a successful career as a social worker. When she retired, she knew right away she wanted to continue to give back to the community.

“There are so many ways to volunteer, but I knew the most meaningful role for me would be to work directly with patients and their families,” she said. “I have a comfort level with death and dying, so I am able to use my talents to speak with the residents here and their family members.”

After completing volunteer training at Hospice of the Western Reserve, Susie made a commitment to volunteer at David Simpson One day every week, the Euclid resident visits Hospice House. Like many of the Agency’s David Simpson Hospice House to provide a volunteers, personal experiences were one caring presence to patients and visiting loved of Susie’s motivating factors. Her brother ones. “I try not to let anything interrupt my received care at David Simpson Hospice days here - except my four granddaughters House in the final few days of his life, and her and two great-grandsons once in a while,” husband received hospice care in their own she said with a smile. home.

When a loved one is dying, the swirl of intense emotions sometimes creates complex dynamics that can lead to family disagreements. Arguments and tension between family members can deeply affect a patient’s peace and wellbeing. The diplomatic skills Susie honed as a professional social worker help her to successfully read and As a member of Mt. Zion Congregational defuse stressful situations during her visits. Church in University Circle, Susie got involved in a faith-based grief support program called “I’m very comfortable with listening and GriefShare. However, she soon discovered maintaining silence,” Susie said. “Sometimes, people can be reluctant to seek help. “They after sitting quietly for a while, I will speak were not exactly knocking down the doors,” to a family member and say, ‘It’s a journey, “I just couldn’t picture myself just sitting on the couch watching TV shows all day,” she said. “I was in my early 70s and in good health. I wanted to find a meaningful way to use my professional skills and experience to help others.”


isn’t it?’ I can see the look of relief come over their face. They’re so grateful to have someone acknowledge their grief and pain. They’ll say, ‘Yes, it really is.’ If the patient is alert, they can join the conversation, too.” When patients are referred to David Simpson Hospice House, it’s often from a hospital setting where they have repeatedly been asked questions about their residence, their family background and their medical history. “When I walk into their room, a patient will sometimes say, ‘What do you need from me?’ They’re so relieved when I say, ‘Absolutely nothing. I’m here to sit with you.’ We’ll sit in silence for a while watching a TV show. Sometimes, they’ll open up and start talking when they haven’t spoken to anyone in days.”

Susie Rivers

In her role as a patient ambassador, Susie takes every opportunity to let visitors to David Simpson Hospice House know how much she loves her role as a volunteer. “I know a lot of people in our community. Repeatedly, I run into people coming here to visit a relative. They’ll ask: ‘Do you work here now?’ I’ll say, ‘I volunteer here. And I love it so much!’ I don’t keep track of how many people I may have influenced to become volunteers. It’s so rewarding. I enjoy getting the word out that this jewel exists on the shores of Lake Erie.” CL Hospice of the Western Reserve volunteers help in many ways and are limited only by their imagination. For more information, visit hospicewr.org/volunteer, or call 216.255.9090. WINTER | SPRING 2020 | 7

While you work from home, entertain yourself, and expand your worldview with these best-selling books!

Book Club Suggestions Little Fires Everywhere BY CELESTE NG A riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the pictureperfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned—from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules. Enter Mia Warren—an enigmatic artist and single mother—who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community. When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a ChineseAmerican baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town—and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs. Now streaming on Hulu. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck BY MARK MANSON In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be positive all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people. For decades we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. Manson doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is – a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. Manson makes the argument, backed by both academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited; Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek. Summaries courtesy of Amazon.com


WINTER | SPRING 2020 | 15

While you work from home, entertain yourself, and expand your worldview with these best-selling books!

Book Club Suggestions Thinking, Fast and Slow BY DANIEL KAHNEMAN Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman’s seminal studies in behavioral psychology, behavioral economics, and happiness studies have influenced other authors, including Steven Pinker and Malcolm Gladwell. Kahneman at last offers his own, first book for the general public. It is a lucid and enlightening summary of his life’s work. It will change the way you think about thinking. Two systems drive the way we think and make choices, Kahneman explains: System One is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System Two is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Examining how both systems function within the mind, Kahneman exposes the extraordinary capabilities as well as the biases of fast thinking and the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and our choices. Kahneman’s singularly influential work has transformed cognitive psychology and launched the new fields of behavioral economics and happiness studies. In this path-breaking book, Kahneman shows how the mind works, and offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and personal lives – and how we can guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble. Where the Crawdads Sing BY DELIA OWENS For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life – until the unthinkable happens. Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps. CL Summaries courtesy of Amazon.com


WINTER | SPRING 2020 | 19

Flavor Over Fat:


Linda D. Bradley, MD Founder and Chair, Celebrate Sisterhood®


Cooking SELF CARE: MadeYour Passpo Healthy Life Simple!

a collection of recipes from chefs across the region

RS A E Y 14 ication to

of ded icultural mult s health n’ wome


Saturday, October 2 7:30 a.m. – 4:0 Executive Caterers at

6111 Landerhaven Drive | Mayfield

Linda D. Bradley, MD, Foun Lyla Blake-Gumbs, MD Lilian Gonsalves, Angela Kyei, MD, M


To purchase copies please#CelebrateSisterho contact: bradlel@ccf.org or call: 216.444.4546


Serves: 4

Chipotle Corn Salsa

INGREDIENTS 1 pound bag frozen corn, defrosted

Submitted by Linda D. Bradley, MD Directions Directions Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Flavors will improve on sitting. Stir well before serving. OPTIONS:

Diced cooked rotisserie chicken and cooked shrimp are excellent additions. Could substitute one can of black beans.

2 15-ounce cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed 1 pound Roma tomatoes (approximately 4), seeded and diced 1 bunch cilantro, chopped 4 scallions (or more, to taste), finely chopped ¼ teaspoon chipotle powder or more to taste


4 limes, zest and juiced

Yield: 2 cups

Cranberry Salsa Submitted by Linda D. Bradley, MD

ortThis tosalsa a is made mostly during Christmas holidays. We always have a large fillet of grilled salmon (for the estyle non-turkey-eating folks in my family). Pairs well with fresh salmon or just about anything.

Directions 1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. 2. Pulse to a medium consistency. Still want to see chunks.

INGREDIENTS 1 (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries 1 bunch fresh cilantro 1 bunch green onion (use the entire onion) and cut into 3-inch lengths 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced 2 fresh limes, juiced ¾ cup white sugar 1/8 teaspoon salt

3. Refrigerate and serve at room temperature. 21, 2017 4. Keeps well for 2 days. 00 p.m.

Landerhaven COOK’S NOTES

d Heights, OH 44124

nder and Chair D, MPH MD MPH




WINTER | SPRING 2020 | 13


Director The Black Professionals Association Charitable Foundation

M. Marshall

standard of how to treat people well with kindness and respect. EARLY YEARS


in Columbus, Ohio; raised in Cleveland, Ohio


Master’s Degree in Education - Adult Learning & Development, Cleveland State University, College of Education Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration - Marketing, The Ohio State University, College of Business CIVIC ENGAGMENT:

• Former board member of Black Professionals Association Charitable Foundation • “Black Folk Having Their Say” Community Think Tank • Member of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church • Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority • National Association of African American in Human Resources – Columbus, OH; Past President • McCutheon Crossing Homeowner’s Association – Columbus, OH; Inaugural President, Board of Trustee • Dress For Success, Columbus, OH MY MANTRA…

I strongly believe in the “Golden Rule” to treat others as you want to be treated. It has served me well in business and in my personal life. People may forget what you said, but they will remember how you made them – feel whether good or bad. I also am guided by “I am my brother’s keeper.” Over the years, I have observed that everyone does not have boundaries or standards in how they should be treated; therefore, it is important to me to hold myself to a certain


Thinking back to your early years, was there a teacher or professor that had a significant impact on your professional journey?

Mrs. Joyce Nunn was my steno-typing block class (I’m dating myself) and favorite teacher at East Technical High School. Mrs. Nunn taught me what it meant to be a professional in the workplace. Everything from office skill training to appropriate office communications, professional attire, and attitude. Mrs. Nunn emphasized operating with excellence, maintaining a positive attitude, not making excuses and keeping your personal problems out of the office. Mrs. Nunn is also the reason why I detest individuals popping and cracking chewing gum. That was a strict no, no. Yet Mrs. Nunn was always available with a listening ear and good words of wisdom for her students when we were experiencing life’s challenges. Mrs. Nunn made a major impact on my life and set me up for success as a professional. CAREER

What professional accomplishment are you most humbled by and why?

I’ve been blessed with a great career in working in diverse industries coaching and developing others for their career, recruiting talent for companies, and creating educational and workforce development programs for individuals to experience greater productivity and success in their chosen career field. I’ve taken on challenging opportunities and achieved significant professional accomplishments, so I find it hard to choose just one. For example, as the Managing Director of INROADS, Columbus, Inc.; which helped

businesses gain greater access to ethnically diverse talent through early identification and continuous leadership development of outstanding college interns. I led a small team and turned around and grew the underperforming Columbus affiliate that was plagued with declining sales, soured client relationships and fiscal challenges. Or creating and executed an innovative dropout prevention and educational support program for ten of the fourteen Cleveland Public middle schools while serving over 2,500 students and achieving a 99.3% retention rate. Or working in corporate human resources and spearheading a startup Retail Rotational Development Program and University Relations Program positioned Huntington as “Employer of Choice.”

Le# to Right: BPACF President Ronald V. Johnson; BPACF Founding Member; and Dr. Rod Adams, long-Bme

former Trustee of the BPACF. Karen M. Marshall

And of course, starting my own HR consulting firm after being downsized from a corporate position during the 2009 recession. In all my professional opportunities I had to guide, coach, develop and manage people, either my staff, clients, or students. Serving as leader is really being a role model because people looked to me to establish direction, how I navigated daily challenges. By directly or indirectly working as a coach and guide, I viewed my professional opportunities as a ministry. I was humbled to have the responsibility to teach, inspire and influence others. That’s an awesome responsibility not to be taken just as “a job.”

Left to right: BPACF President Ronald V. Johnson, Jr.;

Nancella Harris, BPACF Founding Member; and Dr. Rod Adams, former and long-time BPACF Trustee.

WINTER | SPRING 2020 | 15

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion is vital to the longevity and success of any professional. On your most challenging day, where do you draw inspiration to continue feeding your passion for this work? Being a Diversity and Inclusion professional who creates strategies and programs to achieve equity, I’ve learned to be open to finding wisdom and inspiration from unexpected encounters. I remember having missed my flight connection at an airport; which meant I was going to miss an important engagement. I was extremely frustrated because I felt the airline could have done a better job of getting us to the next connection but operated on their own time and not addressing their customers’ needs. As I sat in the terminal next to a stranger waiting for the next flight, I guess I was visibly upset. The gentleman told me I could choose to be upset or I could choose to not let the situation upset me. In that moment, I did not understand or appreciate his comment. I felt he didn’t understand what missing the flight and my engagement meant to me. Later in life his statement clicked in me. I realized it’s not the situation but how we respond to the situation that matters. And we can control our responses and our outlook. This has become a guiding principle for me personally and professionally. So on a challenging day, I draw inspiration from many sources: prayer and the ear of trusted friends but I marvel when I find inspiration from unexpected entities.

What is the toughest decision you’ve made professionally?

Was turning down a position that would have be a huge financial increase for me because I knew I would not fit into the company culture and would be miserable working just for the pay. It actually was not difficult to decline the opportunity, but the tough part was wondering if I would regret it later. 16 | CL MAGAZINE


The essentials to creating a harmonious work environment are…

Establish a vision and clearly communicate it; make sure each team member understands their goals and have adequate training and resources to successfully accomplish their goals, empower the team to take action and make decisions and coach through challenges so they own their decisions. Allow for failure but not repeating the same mistake twice. Foster a win-win attitude, and help make the work environment fun. And it’s important to understand your team members and learn their WIIFM (what’s in it for me.) This will truly allow for a productive, cooperative and harmonious work environment.

What have you come to learn about success?

I’m very goal oriented and do all I can to achieve success. But I have to believe in the mission or purpose of what I choose to do. Accomplishing professional success for me is just another stage in life because if I believe in the what I’m doing and know I’m making a difference, then I realize that I’ve been a good steward of the opportunity God gave me and I’m happy. I never call myself the “Boss”. I do not boss anybody. I am a leader, director or consultant who carves the way for all to succeed.

What have you come to learn about balancing career and lifestyle?

Whew! That is a tough one for me. I understand the importance of work/ life balance, but I must admit, because of the leadership and multifaceted roles I’ve assumed, it’s a challenge for me to always manage work-life balance well. When I get off track with establishing my personal time, I remind myself that if I’m on an airplane and the emergency light came on and the air masks dropped down, I would need to put on my mask first in order to be of help to anyone else. If I am not making time for myself, it eventually will show in many aspects of my life.

Left to right: Alexandria Johnson Boone, 1994 Black Professional of the Year, past Chair, Black Professionals Association, and past President, BPACF; Arthur Baker, Founding Member, BPACF; Vanessa Whiting, 2019 Black Professional of the Year; Nancella Harris, Founding Member, BPACF; and Tina R. Rice, President, T RICE COMMUNICATIONS. MY CONFESSIONS

What part of your job brings you the most joy?

With a background in talent management, I enjoy providing opportunities for individuals to succeed in their career and for companies to identify top diverse talent. There are many barriers to employment particularly for people of color who experience greater barriers to access, fewer educational opportunities and career exposure. My job allows me the opportunity to help students overcome financial barriers to education through scholarships; the ability to learn about careers and pretest their career choice through training and internships. And I exceptionally enjoy the inspiring relationships I’m able to build along the way. What is the most important lesson you’ve learned professionally? How do you apply this lesson to the work you do? The most important lesson I’ve learned professionally is keep any job in proper perspective. Have confidence in yourself

and know who you are and whose you are. Business is ever changing, it’s important to be flexible and open to change. FUN FACT

Your ideal vacation is…

I’ve traveled throughout the world but I my ideal vacation that I best enjoy is a beach house steps away from the beach where it’s sunny and warm. I am a Leo so sun gives me energy and the waves of the water relaxes me. I also like adventurous excursions, so I enjoy fun and exciting activities such as zip-lining, parasailing, rock wall climbing and scuba diving. An uncrowded or private beach would be ideal for me. When I can’t take a vacation, especially like now through this pandemic, I often take mental beach vacations. CL Phone: 216.229.7110 www.BPACF.org

WINTER | SPRING 2020 | 17

How You Can

Lose Fat, Reduce Aging, and Feel Great with Strength Training

Phillip Germany, II pgerm@yahoo.com


Many people want to lose fat, have more energy, and look great now and in their advanced years. Medical and health experts all agree that exercise is beneficial for your heart and overall health and fitness. Jogging, hiking, biking, Tai Chi, Yoga, and dancing are great exercises for the body. However exercising with weights, or strength training, can provide a host of benefits that will make you lose fat, look younger, and feel great. Whether you’re using dumbbells, barbells, kettlebell, machines, or even your bodyweight, as long as your muscles are working hard against an external resistance you are strength training.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that all adults do some type of strength training that hits all the major muscle groups at least two times per week. The advantages of strength training are numerous, however below are some of the major benefits. > Fat Loss and Body Composition Strength training will increase your muscle tissue which will cause your metabolic rate to increase. The more muscle your body has the more body fat you’ll burn, thereby improving your body composition. The bottom line is that you’ll look and feel your best.

lean body mass per decade. Strength training can minimize this loss and help you age better and in some case slow the effects of aging. According to the American Physiological Society prolonged resistance exercise has proven to be effective in promoting healthy aging by preventing and or reversing the decline in skeletal muscle mass. Recovery is also important to a successful strength training program. It allows your muscles, joints, nervous system, and mind to rest and rejuvenate. Recovery encompasses sleep, proper nutrition, massages, meditation, and stress management. Managing the small stressors in your life is important also because they can their toll on your recovery. A study by the University of California at Berkeley found that small aggravations in a person’s life can cause more debilitating stress than major events such as death, an IRS audit, or divorce.

>> Bone Density As you build muscle your bones, along with your joints and tendons, will adapt to the stress placed on them during training. Strength training can improve your bone density thus making your bones stronger, harder, denser, and more resilient, improving your chances of not falling and breaking your When starting a strength program choose exercises that you enjoy, that are safe, and hip in later in life. that will challenge your muscles. For variety you can vary each workout by increasing >>> Mobility and Balance Your ability to move and perform within your the weight, adding more repetitions or sets, full and natural range of motion is important to and trying different types of equipment like an active lifestyle. Strength training increases resistance bands or using your bodyweight. your mobility when you perform an exercise When I train clients I make sure they vary their in its full range. Your balance, or the ability program to get the maximum benefit from a to maintain a stable position on the move or workout. And don’t worry ladies, you will not get big and bulky. Women do not produce standing still, will improve also. enough of the prominent muscle building hormone Testosterone in the same quantities >>>> Improving Functional Movement Increasing strength and building muscle as men. is essential for improving your functional movement pattern. This is important as you Recognizing that you’re in charge of your age and will help you continue an active physical body gives you the confidence and control you need to take full responsibility for lifestyle. its maintenance. A proper strength training program will make you perform better at >>>>> Aging Sarcopenia, or the loss of muscle mass and any activity or sport you choose, giving you strength due to aging, starts around the age the ability to express yourself with stability, of 40. The average person loses 3% to 5% of confidence, and strength. CL

WINTER | SPRING 2020 | 19

Impact of Domestic Violence: One Woman’s Tragic Story


during a recent OB-GYN appointment when my doctor asked me, “Are you safe at home?” I answered without much thought “yes” then added, “I wonder what my mother would have said.” My doctor asked “Why would you say that?” I then explained that my mother had been a victim of domestic violence; in fact, she had been murdered by my father. My doctor embraced me and I began to share my story of the impact of domestic violence as a young girl. Honestly I don’t remember a time when we were “safe” growing up. When I reflect on my childhood, domestic violence is woven throughout. The picture I would have you visualize is one of a middle class family living in a safe neighborhood with loving family members – aunts, uncles, grandparents – and no matter how close they were, we still had a “secret” we dared not talk about with anyone even one another. My father worked at General Motors for 36 years and retired from there. I remember he received an award for “perfect attendance.” Born in Edmonton, Arkansas in 1921, my father had an 8th grade education, and was the epitome of a “functioning alcoholic.” Like most little girls, I saw my father as a big man; someone you didn’t want to mess with. I believe he cared for his family, but brought the behaviors he had seen growing up into his role as father and husband. By his standards he was successful: he was a good provider, owned his own


I was 27 when my father murdered my mother. I was living on the Westside when my sister called and yelled into the phone, “He did it…he finally did it….” home, bought a new Cadillac every three years, children were good students and a submissive wife. However, he was a terror. We were all deathly afraid, and no one knew what would set him off. Funny though, Monday through Friday, I felt we were a normal family. I never wanted for anything. We had all we ever asked for clothes, cars, money, etc. But, Friday evening through Sunday night, we lived in total fear. It seemed as if it was every weekend, however, there were stretches from time to time when all seemed normal even on the weekend.

start. Often, I would fall asleep in the closet because they would go on for so long…. or at least that was how it seemed. Again without reason, it could be a look – that was viewed as disrespectful, someone calling on the phone (he ripped the cord out many times); once I remember she was asleep on the coach and had pants on which he apparently saw as an affront to him and he pulled her off the couch to beat her for wearing pants.

As a youngster, I remember my mother and siblings running out of the house through the alley to family friends down the street. The wrath of my father was emotional and They would make sure we were safe. I would physical. My older sister, younger brother eavesdrop and often heard them tell my and myself endured emotional abuse. We mother “you can’t go back.” But time after were never physically abused. He reserved time she did. There were no shelters at that that for my mother. time, and she wouldn’t dare go to police. Once I remember someone called the police MY MOTHER was born here in Cleveland and took him to jail for a short period of in 1931. She graduated from high school, time. She never pressed charges. He had and was a lively woman; always the life of an arsenal of guns, and would pull them any gathering. She was a petite woman, out often to threaten us or my mother. As fussing particularly about how she dressed. I became an adolescent, I began to harbor She had six sisters and her mother (my anger towards my mother. Why didn’t she grandmother) lived just several blocks away. She enjoyed the trappings of a middle leave? She had several jobs…that is until my father would go up to the job and either class lifestyle. I often thought it was those trappings that kept her from leaving…at least threaten the people on the job or beat her there. As I searched for answers, I remember that was what I thought. either reading or seeing on TV that women of domestic violence didn’t leave because Growing up witnessing your mother being of the children. So then I felt guilty for being beat until bloody or screaming “stop, stop, I angry because she was subjecting herself to can’t take it anymore” was…well, I can’t put this abuse for my siblings and myself. words to it. The echo of that stays with you your entire life. Certain noises, smells and The years passed, and although they even terms people would use, quickly bring didn’t go away, the beatings did lessen. I back those memories. It never goes away… just gets fainter and fainter, but it’s still there. remember at one family dinner, my mother exclaimed that she hadn’t been beaten at We felt helpless. I remember running and all that year. I walked out of the room. As hiding in closets when the beatings would

WINTER | SPRING 2020 | 21

He had an arsenal

of guns, and would pull them out often to threaten us or my mother.

my siblings and I grew up and left home, I thought for sure she would leave. In fact, she went to live with my sister for a time. And we thought for sure that was a step in the right direction. She had finally escaped…. but she kept going back. I’m sure you are familiar with this story. My home was never a “safe haven.” I didn’t want to have any part of enabling this behavior (I didn’t realize at the time, that this enabling behavior was more mental than physical or reasonable behavior), and I moved to the West side and knew they would never come. Through the years, I clearly remember my father saying to her, “When you die, it’s going to be because I will be the one who kills you.” He said this constantly. So much so, that after he did kill her, I felt it echo in my ears for what seemed like years afterwards. IN RETROSPECT, I’m ashamed of my behavior. I was outwardly angry with my mother for years. I didn’t respect her since she had “so many” opportunities to get away. I ignored her calls for help and went long periods of time not talking to her. I remember thinking: “You are crazy…why do you stay? You’re going to get what you deserve.”

Living with domestic violence I learned: • Don’t show emotions, stop crying (“You better not cry…I’ll whip your butt.”) • Don’t trust anyone. This is the last time… it’s not going to happen again. (But it always did.) • Surpress, Surpress, Surpress. Pretend it isn’t happening • Lie. No one can know…even our closest family members • Smile even though inside you are confused, angry, alone • No pride in who you are. You’re worth nothing and women are worth nothing • You are less than a person. You are property

These behaviors manifested themselves as: • Show loyalty to no one, uncertainty, broken promises • Low self-esteem • The overbearing need to prove worthy; distracted behaviors • Heightened feelings of the “imposter syndrome” • Inability to trust relationships; always looking for that “reason to bail” • High vulnerability – Guard always up • No true understanding of what it means to love someone and have them love you • BROKENNESS What did this mean for my choices? You can imagine that I was constantly looking for validation. The need to overachieve took it’s toll on my health and often I found that I sought out boyfriends that were not always the best for me. Although I never found myself in a domestic abuse situation, emotional abuse was generally part of most of my relationships. MY MOTHER WAS 57 when she was

murdered; two years older than I am right now. I remember thinking, in her married life, she never experienced true and sustaining happiness or love from her husband. Tihat made me very sad. As a young adult heading off to college, I remember thinking “I’m free finally”... I am never going back there. But, you can’t run from your past. I was painfully shy; ill-equipped to manage relationships and unable to interrupt what was true friendship versus someone who was going to find out my secret. I ultimately did have to go home for holidays. I was always the last to leave and first to come back, but holidays were particularly difficult. They generally started off well, but ended with violence. Being away at college, I began to learn more about domestic violence and its impact on the family…especially the children. I learned WINTER | SPRING 2020 | 23

I visited my father in prison before he died.

He never apologized, and we never discussed why he was there. about the cycle of alcoholism and domestic violence. I learned that statistically, I was “destined” to repeat this cycle. I remember reading this and thinking “not me”? I would never take a drink or let a man put his hands on me. I suppressed what I had learned and committed myself to graduating from college and getting as far away as I could. Fast forward…. I married my college sweetheart and have been married for more than 25 years. Early on was difficult because I brought all of the baggage of brokenness with me. Lack of trust, always looking for “signals” of behavior shifts; my poor husband could not raise his voice at me or I’d shut down completely. I mis-took passion and lust for love. Never truly letting my guard completely down... just in case. I felt I always had to have a plan of escape. So how did we survive for 25 years? By the grace of God, for sure. Lots of late night conversations, lots of tears, and being blessed to have a partner who loves me and was willing to breakthrough the brokenness and genuinely love me unconditionally. As a young adult, I began to volunteer at centers, but found it hard to connect as I had not fully dealt with my past, so I stopped. Life happened and children were born and growing so time went on. I WAS 27 WHEN MY FATHER MURDERED MY MOTHER. I was living on the Westside with

my family when my sister called and yelled into the phone, “He did it…he finally did it….” It was late night as we piled the kids into the car to Huron Road Hospital. Everyone was there when we arrived. My brother (who was called by the neighbors as my father was on the porch…yelling), my sister, various aunts, and cousins. They ushered me into a room and asked if I wanted to see my mother. I said no, I couldn’t bear to see her “that way.”


My father had slit her throat, so much so that it was difficult for them to stabilize her neck. At the time of her death, my mother was working at the Cleveland Clinic, and we had to go fill out paperwork and clean out her locker. Her supervisor accompanied us to her locker and had only nice things to say and about how everyone loved working with her. Then she said something that made me stop cold in my stride: “Your mother was one of the smartest people I ever met.” I never saw her that way. I saw her as a victim, an enabler, weak, indecisive and “getting what she deserved.” Upon thinking that, I felt the weight of guilt and began to cry uncontrollably. I VISITED MY FATHER in prison just a few

times before he died (he was in his late 70s and very ill). He never apologized, and we never discussed why he was there. I miss my mother. She didn’t live to see five of her grandchildren, three greatgrandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren. Three of those grandchildren are my sons, and we’ve taught them to respect women, to honor women, walk away when angry, and to never, ever raise their hands to anyone. I have shared my story with them all, as they need to know their history so that it will not be repeated. That is our prayer…. As I have learned through the years, domestic violence is prevalent within our society. Almost daily we hear stories of women caught in the trap of abuse. My heart is saddened when I hear these stories. Perhaps if someone had asked them, “Are you safe at home?” they may have been able to find the courage to get the assistance they would need to break free from the cycle of domestic violence. CL

When Home Isn’t a Safe Place by Melissa Graves, Megan Gergen, and Molly Kaplan COVID-19 has people across

our community staying home as a way to stay safe. However, home is not a safe place for everyone. Isolation is commonly used by abusers as a way to control and maintain power over their partner. COVID-19 gives them an added layer of isolation. This is especially dangerous during a time of uncertainty. Any time an abuser may be feeling a lack of power and control, abuse can escalate. Those experiencing domestic violence will likely no longer have work or other community spaces as a safety net to take a break from their abusive partner. Fear and uncertainty about the future may leave victims with limited options to escape or limited access to resources. If someone’s work hours have been shortened or they lose a job because of COVID-19 closings, they may be more dependent on an abusive partner for financial support. Also, an abuser who loses a job may feel like they are losing control and escalate abuse. DVCAC is seeing a surge in

need right now. Therapists and Advocates have seen an 80% increase in calls from current and former

clients and calls to our Helpline indicate that abuse is escalating. Before COVID, most calls came in during the hours when an abuser would typically be at work or the person experiencing abuse could call from work. With stay at home restrictions in place, most calls are coming during the night when an abuser is asleep. Our shelter remains open and if there isn’t space available, staff are working to get people to a safe place and supporting them through this crisis. Reaching out may not be safe. The trend across the country right now is for calls to Helplines to actually be decreasing. Here in Cleveland calls have remained steady but show increasing severity of abuse. We know that in months to come we will hear more about abuse people are enduring right now.

or reach us through web chat at DVCAC.org Safety planning is an important tool that individuals and families can use to help keep themselves safer. Talk with safe friends and/or family to come up with a plan if the abuse gets worse. Consider using a code word that an abuser would not know. If it is safe, document the abuse that is occurring. Consider making a “gobag” with essential items: birth certificates and social security cards, hand sanitizer, soap, tissue, and other things you use daily, as well as stuffed animals or pillows for your children. Create a plan for leaving the house safely and options of where to go.

Here are some suggestions for anyone in an abusive relationship: Call or text our Helpline WINTER | SPRING 2020 | 25

Keep your gas tank full, back into your parking place, and keep your keys close by in case you have to make a quick escape. If you don’t have a car, keep a taxi or lift service on speed dial, and exact change for public transportation. With many people staying in touch over the phone and through technology it is important to be mindful of our technology use. Put strong passwords on your phone or other devices. Review privacy settings and turn off any location settings. Log out of your apps and other accounts, such as email, when they are not in use. And remember, anything that is communicated digitally can be tracked; if you are utilizing the internet use secure browsing and delete the browsing history, if possible. Many abusers use technology to monitor and control, find more tech safety tips at: techsafety.org.

kids. And stay connected, safely, to your community supports such as church, therapy, or others. We know that not all communities feel safe calling law enforcement. Black, LGBTQ, Latinx, and immigrant communities may hesitate because of negative experiences. However, law enforcement is still responding to emergencies and calling 911 is still an important option when your life is in danger.


While physical safety is important, we also need to keep ourselves emotionally safe. Spending lots of time with an abusive partner can take an incredible emotional toll. Do what you can for self-care: go outside for walks, open your windows, stretch or exercise indoors. Do things that make you happy: sing, journal, draw, or do art projects with your

How can you support someone who may be experiencing domestic violence?


Stay in touch: Reach out to your friends, family, or members of your community group or church. Keep in mind that a person may not be able to communicate with you openly without the abuser being present and that communicating digitally leaves a trail. When you connect with someone keep things general. Ask how they are doing with all that is going on or say that you’re reaching out to everyone you care about to check in. Listen but don’t try to fix everything: Be a safe space. Listen to what the person is telling you, believe them, be supportive and nonjudgmental. Keep what they tell you confidential.

Remember, survivors are extremely savvy and resilient, and they are the experts in their own lives. Sometimes just reaching out, listening, and validating their experience is all you can do. Understand the dynamics of domestic violence: Violence and abuse in a relationship is never okay. Abusers often blame their abuse on other people or external factors, or take things like sacred writings out of context to maintain power and control. Remind someone experiencing abuse that no one ever “deserves” to be abused. Hold the abuser accountable for their behavior. Help if you can: Ask open ended questions like “how can I help?” Provide resources for agencies that can help with things like free lunches, utility assistance, transportation, etc. Consider coming up with a code or message system they can use to contact you if they need you to call 911. Refer to DVCAC: Safety planning and support is critical. DVCAC remains open and available for people right now who are experiencing abuse or if you’re concerned about a friend or family member. Call or text our 24-hour Helpline 216.391.4357 (HELP) or live chat: dvcac.org/get-help/ CL

Domestic Violence & Child Advocacy Center is Cuyahoga County’s only comprehensive domestic violence agency and uses an innovative approach that works with children and adults to break cycles of violence.


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