Domestic violence was a central topic at the annual Women’s Commission breakfast, held at the Hurricane 100 room on Thursday.
The event featured Amy Karan, chief presiding judge in the domestic violence division of the Miami-Dade County Court system.
“People don’t want to talk about domestic violence; it’s not fun, it’s not pretty and it’s not something you want to talk about,” she said.
That did not stop her from talking about it in great detail, though. A former undergraduate and law student at the University of Miami, Karan said she takes her job with her everywhere she goes.
Before taking her seat, the judge read aloud a poem written by a victim of domestic violence entitled “Another Woman”. Prior to reading it she warned that she would try not to cry, nevertheless she was in tears by the time she read the last line.
Karan acknowledged the fact that the majority of Miami-Dade’s judges in the domestic violence division are female, but she dismisses notions that this creates a biased system.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t hear someone say a man can’t get a fair shake in this court,” Karan said. “But I don’t give out protection orders like toys.”
Karan, accompanied to the breakfast by her daughter Amber, a sophomore in high school, focused her topic on warriors and said that what she wanted the 113 people in the audience to take from her message was a mindset of thinking globally and acting locally.
“This is the time when acting locally can make a difference,” Karan said.
Karan was introduced by her former UM law school instructor, Bruce Winick.
Following her speech, the Women’s Commission presented her with a small gift and a club T-shirt.
In addition to Karan’s address there was also a short awards ceremony in which Anya Edun, junior, was presented with the 2006 Louise P. Mills award for her volunteer achievements and former Women’s Commission president Nancy Ryan was presented with the Mary Brunson award for her work with the organization.
Edun, a criminology major, was nominated by her sorority’s advisor and prior to the event didn’t really know much about her nomination or the Women’s Commission.
“I did know vaguely what it [the Women’s Commission] was,” Edun said, “but coming today really opened up my eyes about what it’s all about.”
Dayle Wilson, vice president of the organization, presented the awards.
“Being here 25 years you see a lot of changes and you want to get active and become a part of some of these changes,” said Wilson, who is also assistant dean of students.
Like Edun, Wilson knows that there are students who are not aware of the commission. She said that they are trying to interact with some of the women’s organizations on campus to get the word out.
Students or faculty interested in learning more about the Women’s Commission may either contact Wilson or go to www.miami.edu/womens-commission.
Angela Sturrup can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.