Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray led over 50 male students in a pledge to help end domestic violence during a special halftime ceremony at Saturday’s University of Massachusetts women’s basketball home game against Dayton.
The ceremony was part of the White Ribbon Campaign (WRC), a global movement, which consists of, according to its website, “men working to end men’s violence against women.” The White Ribbon Campaign website states that the WRC is the largest effort in the world of men to end domestic violence against women, and that since its creation in Canada 19 years ago, it has spread to 55 different countries.
All men were invited down to the court of the Mullins Center during halftime, and about 50 joined Murray on the floor, wearing a white ribbon, while others stood in the stands to make the pledge. Murray told the crowd that he was the chair of Governor Deval Patrick’s advisory committee to end violence and sexual assault.
“Governor Patrick and I have worked hard with all of the different stakeholders in order to raise awareness around the issue of domestic violence,” he said. “To the young men who are here, thank you for stepping up to the plate and leading by example.”
Murray then instructed all men present to raise their right hand and make the following pledge:
“I pledge to be violence free; never commit, condone or remain silent about violence; challenge other men to recognize that they can be powerful without making others powerless and encourage all men to work together with women using their collective voices and resources to end violence not only at UMass, but in all our communities.”
Murray then added, “Go UMass,” and the crowd answered with appreciative applause.
Many of the men who took part in the pledge were part of an athletic team or fraternity. UMass sophomore baseball player Ben Hart said that they had decided as an entire team that they wanted to take part in the event.
“I think it’s good to show support, and it’s for a good cause,” he said.
Ron Wallace, a freshman, also stressed the importance of the event.
“You go home [wearing] the white ribbon and people ask what it’s about,” Wallace said. “It raises awareness so that everyone will realize [about the event and domestic violence].”
It was the second year in a row that Murray led the event at the Mullins Center. The event was sponsored by the Center for Health Promotion at University Health Services, the Sport Management department, the Office of Fraternities and Sororities and the Everywoman’s Center, with support from the Athletics department, according to a University press release.
Murray chairs the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, the release states. University Health Services health educator Amanda Collings Vann is a member of the Council.
The event concluded with an open invitation for the third annual “White Ribbon Day,” which will be held March 2 at the State House in Boston.
Chris Shores can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.