Tara’s Walk continues path to help women escape violence

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published September 13, 2019

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STERLING HEIGHTS — Walking to stop domestic violence is a priority for Dan Maiorano.

Maiorano, the chief financial officer for OUR Credit Union, said his organization has been sponsoring an event called Tara’s Walk for a few years. He plans to join a team of co-workers in the Sterling Heights 5K walk this year for a fourth time.

“We continue to advocate for more awareness of domestic violence,” he said. “It is an area that isn’t addressed as often as it should be.”

The domestic violence prevention nonprofit Turning Point will hold the 12th annual Tara’s Walk against domestic violence Sept. 28 at the Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill.

The event is named after Tara Grant, a local woman who died in 2007 after her husband strangled her; he is in prison for the crime.

Tara’s Walk started in 2007 to promote domestic violence awareness and prevention, and money raised from the event will go into the Tara Liberation Fund. The fund gives survivors emergency money to leave a violent environment.

According to organizers, members of Grant’s family are scheduled to attend the event as in past years.

“This event is so important to my family and lets people know what domestic violence does to families,” Grant’s daughter, Lindsey, said in a statement.

Maiorano said he recalls hearing some of the family members speak at prior walks. He described what it was like to participate in the past.

“Every year I’ve went, there’s been a bigger and bigger turnout,” he said. “I’m glad to see the support, as well as more people participating and walking and advocating — and more support against domestic violence.”

Turning Point Development Director Karan Bates-Gasior said Tara’s Walk will include a family-friendly picnic lunch, as well as children’s activities.

While she said the event will mostly be the same as in other years, the 5K run/walk will have an altered route this year. It won’t go around Bethesda Christian Church due to a scheduled cross-country meet, she said.

Bates-Gasior added that the walk is a prelude to October being National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the event will have information and activities that are relevant to survivors.

“It just gives survivors a voice,” she said. “Most people don’t go around going, ‘Hey, I’m a domestic violence survivor.’ … One in four women will be a victim of domestic violence. Our mission is to help victims of domestic violence and sexual assault regain control of their lives.”

Bates-Gasior said Turning Point offers services such as emergency shelter referrals, a crisis line, safety planning, counseling and legal advocacy. Tara’s Walk is one of the ways to support the organization’s mission, she said.

She elaborated on the walk’s past and current fundraising goals.

“Last year we raised about $28,000, so we seem to be in the same ballpark,” she said. “We definitely need more people to attend.”

Turning Point will host the 12th annual Tara’s Walk at 9 a.m. Sept. 28 at the Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill, 14900 Metropolitan Parkway in Sterling Heights.

Participants may register on-site at 9 a.m., and the walk starts at 10 a.m. The cost is $25 for adults; teams of six or more pay $20 per individual. Event proceeds will benefit the Tara Liberation Fund.

Find out more about Tara’s Walk by visiting turningpointma comb.org/event/tara2019 or by calling (586) 463-4430, ext. 226.

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