This summer I have had a thrilling internship with Jewelry for a Cause in the NYC area. The company began in 2008 with the singular purpose of helping a wide variety of not for profits use jewelry as innovative fund raising tools. It is truly Jewelry that sparkles with good intentions™. In addition to their custom wholesale work, they have 3 meaningful retail lines; Talismans, In Gratitude Beads and The Caliber Collection™. The Caliber Collection is the most high profile of these lines. The jewelry is made with the serial numbers and metal from shell casings from the different police departments they partner with. A portion of the proceeds goes back to the cities to fund gun buyback and amnesty programs as well as other needed public safety programs. All of their jewelry has been embraced by A list celebrities such as Donna Karan, Maria Shriver, Demi Lovato, Iggy Azalea, Amanda Seyfried, Chris Gorham, Akon, etc. I did know all of this before I made the trip from Michigan in May…what I didn’t know was a massive problem illegal guns are in America and what a massive role they play in escalating so many other problems in society…specifically domestic violence.
For years I only equated domestic violence with emotional, psychological, financial abuse, physical assault (hitting, pushing, shoving, etc.), sexual abuse (unwanted or forced sexual activity), and stalking. However, I now know what a serious role illegal guns play in domestic violence. Statistics from Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that there are 46 American woman shot to death each month by a current or former intimate partner. And the chances of a woman being killed in a domestic violence situation rises 500% where a gun is present.
Just like domestic violence, anyone can be a victim of illegal gun violence. Victims of domestic violence or illegal gun violence can be of any age, sex, race, culture, religion, education, employment, or martial status. Not only does domestic violence affect those who are abused, but witnesses, family members, co-workers, friends and the community at large are also negatively impacted. Children raised in these environments are shown that violence is a normal way of life and this places them at higher risk of becoming society’s next generation of victims and abusers.
US Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, stated, “Gun violence is not something we have to accept, it is something we can do something about and our strategies can reap tremendous results.” He collaborated with the founder, Jessica Mindich, to create the The Caliber Collection)
Our goal at Alpha Chi Omega is to break the cycle of violence in society. We do this with our philanthropy events and other efforts to wear awareness and help victims of domestic violence. Jewelry for a Cause partners with municipalities to fund local gun buyback programs with proceeds from the Caliber Collection, a series of bracelets and cufflinks engraved with the serial numbers from illegal guns and the brass from shell casings swept from crime scenes. Within the past 8 years this company is responsible for creating over $450,000 philanthropic dollars for a variety of worthy causes using jewelry as a fundraising tool. Another astounding statistic is that they have been able to fund gun buybacks that have resulted in 395 illegal guns existing on the streets of the 6th most dangerous city in the U.S. I am so proud to be a part of this effort and excited to bring back all that I have learned to Alpha Chi Omega and my future.
For more information on Jewelry for a Cause http://www.jewelryforacause.net