Aquinas College (AC) Business Z Club members joined with Zontians worldwide in saying no to violence against women and girls.
The club members banded together to show their support for the cause by selling orange ribbons for $1 each as they sought to do their part in helping bring awareness to the increasing violence against women and girls, during Zonta’s recent 16 days of activism during which all Zonta clubs and districts were encouraged to take part in the Zonta Says No to Violence Against Women campaign and to take local, national and international actions to influence the making and implementation of laws, as well as changing gender-based attitudes and behaviors to end violence against women.
The club raised $200 through its ribbon sale initiative, and collected canned goods which were all donated to the Crisis Centre.
For Aquinas College 12th grade student Anton McDonald, who is also the Business Z Club president, he said it was important for the club to participate because they believe that violence against women and girls is not respecting the power of the word “no” and that the rights of women and children are ignored and taken for granted.
McDonald, president of Aquinas College’s Business Club which has merged with the Zonta Club and renamed Aquinas College Business Z Club said the recent awareness campaign further raised his awareness.
“I did not know that there was so much violence against women and children in this country,” said McDonald. “It has definitely humbled me and allowed me to see how women and children are disrespected and ignored by some men and scorned by some women for being in unhealthy situations, whether of their own choosing or not.”
“My clubmates and I have been able to acknowledge and learn about the many challenges facing women and children in our society through many workshops and lecture series done by Z Club,” said Anton, a third-year club member.
He said his heightened awareness of violence against women and children has taught him to be more respectful to women, to take better care of his mother and sister, and to pay attention and take seriously the words spoken by people around him, in particular, the words of children.
Jared Martin, the club’s vice president, said he joined the club because of his stance on violence against women and young girls.
“I also wanted to make a change, and an indelible impact when it comes to what I am advocating for,” said the 11th grade student.
“I believe that the violence against women and young girls should be stopped because we all have that special someone, like a sister, daughter, grandmother as well as a mother that we love so dearly. They are the ones that are at the forefront for us daily, and we must protect them at all costs.”
Martin said people should also realize that violence against women and young girls comes in many different forms – physical, mental, and even verbal abuse.
He said everyone should stand up for women and try to protect them against violence. Their fundraising project, he said, hammered that home for him.
“We must all stand together to make a change. I believe violence against women is criminal and must be stopped. Many women around the world have been stripped off their rights, and have been deemed less than their male counterparts – however, we must fight back so women can have their freedom.”
Khalia Ingraham, club treasurer says no female should have to be scared for her life, or live in abuse.
“They should feel safe,” says the 12th grade student. “Something needs to be done to stop the violence against women.”
De’Shan Ferguson, the club’s assistant secretary says women should not have to endure harsh treatment.
“It is good to raise awareness so that you are aware and educated. Violence against women should not be tolerated.”
Leah McCartney a 12th grade student who serves as the club’s secretary says everyone should stand up for women and try to protect them against violence.
“Violence against women is any kind of abuse or harmful activities against girls and women.”
Aquinas College’s Business Z Club is comprised of both genders.