Navajo Nation First Lady Martha Shelly plans to join the Stop the Violence Against Women Day walk in support of the Violence Against Family Act.
The walk kicks off at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday at the Window Rock Police Department in Arizona and ends at the Navajo Nation Council chambers. There, at 9 a.m., First Lady Shelly intends to present it to Navajo Nation Council (NNC) Delegates Katherine Benally (Dennehotso, Chinchilbeto, and Kayenta) and Joshua Lavar Butler (To Nanees Dizi) for sponsorship of the legislation and introduction for approval by the council.
Hosted in collaboration with the Navajo Nation Advisory Council Against Domestic Violence, the walk is intended to raise awareness of the Act and also educate and empower victims of domestic violence. “We have been actively working on the Violence Against Family Act, which has been in development for the past ten years and we are confident it will be passed by the Navajo Nation Council,” said First Lady Shelly. “I encourage everyone to come out and join us to advocate for the rights of victims and families of domestic violence.”
According to the Act, it will provide for the safety and protection of family members from violence. A Navajo Nation press release states that the criminal justice system will “respond to family members with fairness, compassion and in a prompt and effective manner. Family violence is contrary to the traditional Navajo way of life and is a violation of fundamental human rights.”
The initial core group of the Navajo Nation Advisory Council Against Domestic Violence comprises of members from the Division of Social Services, Battered Families and Home Shelter staff (from Shiprock, Kayenta and Crownpoint), the Judicial Branch, the Window Rock Police Department and the Public Defender’s Office.