It's Your Business Breakfast 2012 Event Highlights
On Thursday, May 24, 2012, JDI held it's second annual "It's Your Business Breakfast" at the beautiful Algonquin Club in Boston. Diane Patrick, First Lady of the Commonwealth, Bill Delahunt and members of the Timilty Family were on hand to help support Jane Doe Inc. and honor this year's awardee, Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone.
The lobby buzzed with hellos and warm hugs as people gathered for the second annual “It’s Your Business” breakfast to benefit JDI on May 24, 2012. Named this year in memory of Kelly Timilty and hosted by The Joseph P. Timilty Family, the breakfast brought together business, community leaders and advocates at the beautiful Algonquin Club on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston.
The 2012 recipient of the Delahunt Award for Extraordinary Public Services was presented to the widely respected Middlesex County District Attorney Gerry Leone, who in the words of former Congressman Bill Delahunt, is “a unique and remarkable public servant.” Leone was recognized for his creative and innovative approaches to engage with community advocates and educators and to provide victims with supports and services that enhance their safety.
Brought forth by a standing ovation demonstrating both admiration and gratitude, Leone humbly noted that he receives too much credit for his achievements as the “front man.” DA Leone expressed his appreciation to many worthy individuals in the room, including the staff from the Middlesex DA’s Office, “as without them, I would not be in the position I am today.” This modest sentiment is also a realization that the task at hand is nowhere near complete. Leone motivated the audience to “stay invested, stay involved” and stated that in order for successful cultural change to occur, people must come together, stay together, and work together.
Returning as Emcee, Channel 5’s EyeOpener Anchor Bianca de la Garza was already half way through her day when the breakfast began. Too often, Bianca noted, “I’m telling the story of another tragic case of sexual or domestic violence. This breakfast is about building our collective strength to prevent and end abuse.”
Mary R. Lauby, Executive Director for JDI, explained the two-fold function of this event: to support the work of JDI and to honor an individual who has made outstanding contributions in the field of ending sexual and domestic violence. Lauby described the far-ranging and critical needs of victims and their families and the efforts of JDI to ensure their safety, dignity and liberty. With the recent implementation of Secure Communities and the opposition to the Violence Against Women Act as a backdrop, Lauby underscored the key role that advocates such as JDI, our member programs and our allies in the audience must play in ensuring that policies and practices reflect the best interests of ALL victims and survivors, regardless of immigration status, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
Gregg Timilty, brother of Kelly Timilty, lovingly discussed the importance of his sister in his life and how her attitude and work demonstrated the importance of addressing an issue at its very core. Recalling that his sister had no tolerance for bullying, Timilty lauded Governor Patrick and his anti-bullying efforts. He also made a passionate comparison of bullying and domestic violence and urged the audience to understand abuse for what it is: power and control.
Diane Patrick, First Lady of Massachusetts, was on hand to participate in the award ceremony and to support JDI. Mrs. Patrick described how her own involvement and advocacy in this arena meant frequent encounters with District Attorney Leone where she witnessed the impressive and inspiring level of commitment Leone has to these issues.
Bill Delahunt, former U.S. Congressman and the first recipient of JDI’s award for Extraordinary Leadership in ending violence against women, remarked on the importance of ending violence against women, “ This is a national issue. This is not just a MA issue, In fact in my last year of service in 2010, I along with Senator Kerry filed legislation to address this issue at the international level. The UN has taken on this issue in recognition that if we’re going to deal with violence, whether it be street crime, or whether it be war, the place to start is to deal with the issue of violence against women.”
Delahunt also underscored the importance of tackling the culture of violence that plagues our society. He said, “At its very core, it’s about the powerful vs. the less powerful, and oftentimes the powerless.”
In praising Leone for his leadership, Delahunt noted, “I can’t agree enough with Mary that the holistic approach that Gerry Leone has adopted deserves recognition and replication. It isn’t just about prosecution, it’s about changing the culture and making violence, in whatever form but particularly violence against women, a taboo, a taboo in a fair and just society.”