MOUNT VERNON — “It’s not possible for New Directions to end domestic violence in Knox County,” said Tuesday Ryan-Hart, keynote speaker at Thursday’s New Directions dinner and celebration benefit. “There has to be a very broad community response.”
Ryan-Hart was addressing the more than 225 community members at the dinner, all united in the quest to end domestic violence. She described her journey from being a traditional service provider to an individual committed to engaging communities in meaningful conversations that lead to positive changes for all within the community.
The challenge in creating a better tomorrow, she said, is that, for organizations like New Directions, there is decreased funding, increased complexity in the problems encountered and constantly changing demographics. She said people need to admit there is a serious [domestic violence] problem and there needs to be a systemic change in mindsets in order really make a difference in the lives of victims of domestic abuse or to prevent such abuse altogether.
“You can’t do it alone,” she said, “You have to embrace interconnectedness. Today’s problems are complex and interconnected. You need to invite all parts of the system to participate and contribute to solutions. You have to trust other people’s creativity and commitment.”