Dedication ceremonies for new shelter

by Ed Born-Long
October 16, 1997

The Center for Battered Women, where Annie Born is honored, today dedicated its new 16-bed emergency shelter at a midday ceremony. Chris and I were part of a crowd of about eighty people who gathered to hear remarks by several dignitaries. Austin's Mayor Kirk Watson and U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett led the way. Then Jane Lewis spoke. Jane is a member of the CBW board and a former client. She told of a horrible night years ago when her husband beat her from room to room, then dragged her down the stairs by her hair. She escaped and called the Center's emergency line. And that night Jane found a safe home at the Center.

The featured guest today was U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala. Secretary Shalala spoke in praise of Austin's domestic violence programs, which have led the way for similar programs throughout the nation. She said "If we work together, I believe we can reach the day when we'll have far less need for shelters like this. And when we do, I've no doubt that it will be because the people in Austin have led the way."

The new facilities are very comfortable, light and airy. Bedrooms surround a large central area with a high ceiling and skylights, and comfortable couches and reading areas. Here and there around the sides of the room are a few little telephone nooks.

Wish by Annie Born

Walking out the back door, we found the patio and gardens, dedicated to Annie. The plaque on the side of the little laundry building bears an excerpt from a poem Annie wrote. When Annie's mother Gloria and I were going through Annie's apartment, we found this poem among others in a small notebook beside Annie's bed. It's very prophetic, to say the least.

At the dedication ceremonies we ran into an old friend, Cisco Garcia. Several years ago we worked as volunteers at a Christmas Day dinner party for Austin's homeless people. Cisco was the spearhead for the whole effort, and we always hit it off and worked well together. Well, now Cisco is a full-time staff member at the Center for Battered Women. He works with teenagers, primarily boys, in the Center's programs to break the cycle of abuse. That's just the kind of work I'm interested in doing, so Cisco and I had a good talk, and we'll be getting together soon.

Several local television crews covered the dedication ceremony. As far as I know, three of them featured articles about the event, and I saw myself a couple of times. I was grateful for the opportunity to tell people a little about Annie, and how this loss has changed my life. The wonderful people at the Center for Battered Women have reached out so warmly to me and my family. That's the kind of work they do, and we sure appreciate them.

Another emotional day...and seeing more of the best in people.


WISH

I wish there were no pain, no suffering, no humiliation.
I wish that there were no tears but tears of joy.
I wish that there was nothing to be frightened of,
And that goodbye was not so final.

...Annie Born


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