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DV shelter to raise money with Saturday online telethon

GALLUP

To keep domestic violence victims safe, Strengthening Nations Inc., a nonprofit domestic violence shelter, needs your help.

So they’re going to have a virtual telethon this Saturday.

The shelter’s co-founder and director, Pat Nelson and Christian Vasquez, said on Tuesday the virtual event is their first-ever telethon.
Vasquez said October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and they usually hold a walk but with the COVID-19 pandemic they aren’t able to do that this year.

“We’re hoping it’ll be a pretty decent event so we can raise quite a bit of money,” Vasquez said, who is the shelter’s co-founder and deputy director. “Right now we are housing families in hotel rooms.”

Since the pandemic hit Gallup area, Vasquez said the shelter has seen an increase in the number of domestic violence calls.

“Ever since COVID, we’ve been adding about a family a week when it comes to having a shelter,” he said. “We’ve been working with hotels, which works, but we need something that is a bit more secure.”

Health care facilities, like Gallup Indian Medical Center, also have worked with motels in Gallup to house COVID-19 patients, Nelson added. Motels can ask patrons to leave if customers were causing a disturbance.

“It’s really (domestic violence) amped up and the numbers are rising,” Vasquez said. “We want to help our community get some services that it really needs.”

Nelson said the money that is raised will go to a building. When they raise their $20,000 goal, Nelson and Vasquez said they want the money to be a down payment and eventually begin converting the building into an emergency transition shelter.

“It could be much easier to manage if it’s all under the same roof,” Vasquez added.

One music group that will be performing in the telethon is heavy metal rock group Testify, from Thoreau.

Drummer Edmund Yazzie said a music store reached out to them asking if they would like to participate and help raise money for a good cause.

The band’s lead singer and lead guitarist, Darius Yazzie, said on Thursday night they’re slated to play at 7:45 p.m. He added he wrote a song called “Blinded By Affliction,” which is on their second album “Rise Above,” about domestic violence.

“I know domestic violence is a big thing on the Rez,” Yazzie said. “I’ve know people who have gone through it. At that time, I wanted to make a statement that this problem does exist. I wanted it to be an uplifting song for anyone that’s experiencing that type of abuse. And to let them know there is a way out of it and it’s not the end of the road.”

Yazzie said after song’s debut, fans began requesting during their live shows. He added the song was slower and more melodic and did not usually add to their “full force” list filled with head-banging and a hard-hitting performance.

“If there’s anyone out there that’s going through a relationship like that,” he said, “I just want them to know that there is a way out, there is hope, and not to give up.”

The two-hour telethon begins at 6 p.m. and will be shown on Quintana’s Music Center’s and Strengthening Nation’s Facebook pages.

Keeley Johns, JP Van Derdys Vidal and Irv Wauneka also will perform during the two-hour telethon.

All performances are closed to the public but can be viewed on the Facebook pages of Strengthening Nations and Quintana’s Music.

To donate: www.strengtheningnations.org.


About The Author

Donovan Quintero

"Dii, Diné bi Naaltsoos wolyéhíígíí, ninaaltsoos át'é. Nihi cheii dóó nihi másání ádaaní: Nihi Diné Bizaad bił ninhi't'eelyá áádóó t'áá háadida nihizaad nihił ch'aawóle'lágo. Nihi bee haz'áanii at'é, nihisin at'é, nihi hózhǫ́ǫ́jí at'é, nihi 'ach'ą́ą́h naagééh at'é. Dilkǫǫho saad bee yájíłti', k'ídahoneezláo saad bee yájíłti', ą́ą́ chánahgo saad bee yájíłti', diits'a'go saad bee yájíłti', nabik'íyájíłti' baa yájíłti', bich'į' yájíłti', hach'į' yándaałti', diné k'ehgo bik'izhdiitįįh. This is the belief I do my best to follow when I am writing Diné-related stories and photographing our events, games and news. Ahxéhee', shik'éí dóó shidine'é." - Donovan Quintero is an award-winning Diné journalist, who is based in Window Rock, Arizona. He can be contacted at dq@navajotimes.com.

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