FIGHTING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE -- (Senate - November 15, 2006)
Mr. BIDEN. Mr. President, I rise today to pay special tribute to the General Federation of Women's Clubs and their recent work to fight domestic violence. The organization is a gem among our midst. Founded in April 1890, it is one of the world's oldest and largest women's volunteer organizations. More than 150,000 women members in 5,000 local and 20 international clubs volunteer over 13 million hours and contribute approximately $35 million through more than 160,000 club projects. I can't underestimate how powerful and influential this corps of volunteers is to the health of our Nation.
I am particularly proud that this year the international president, Jacqueline Pierce, has adopted ``Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention'' as her President's Special Project for 2006-2008. Nannette White, a member from Louisiana, serves as the national chairperson of the President's Special Project, and with the support of a national committee of women, promotes participation in this project. All across the Nation, local women's clubs are adopting battered women's shelters and donating needed goods such as food, linens, health care items, and more. In Nevada, members sponsored a public service campaign on radio stations to promote important messages about violence prevention. In Mississippi, members distributed 2,000 fliers with information on the National Domestic Violence Hotline and helped raise funds for the Mississippi State Coalition Against Domestic Violence. This is just a small sampling of the good works being done.
As part of this special project, the General Federation of Women's Clubs forged a historic collaboration with the Family Violence Prevention Fund, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, the National Network to End Domestic Violence and domestic violence organizations in communities throughout the United States. Innovative partnerships between the public and private sector, new relationships between organizations--these are the pathways to solutions to our Nation's most pressing problems.
I have spent almost 34 years of my life in Congress and witnessed the transformative impact of powerful Federal legislation. For instance, the Violence Against Women Act improved Federal and State criminal laws and enacted programs that encourage prosecution of abusers, create battered women's shelters and sponsor educational campaigns. Over the past decade, the act's programs have distributed over $4 billion to States, local governments, and nonprofit organizations. Yet despite this extraordinary success, I am convinced that Federal Government action alone cannot end domestic violence. We desperately need the individual attention and dedication of volunteers. Change happens one woman at a time and one volunteer at a time. The volunteer work done by club members fills an invaluable role. As my mother would say, these are the people who do God's work.
I commend Madam President Pierce for her leadership and commitment to airing our Nation's ``dirty little secret,'' domestic violence. She has brought a whole new legion of women warriors to help battered women and their children. On behalf of the entire Senate, I thank them for their tireless volunteerism to end domestic violence and giving women what they haven't had before--hope.