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Category: News

July 12, 2017

The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) congratulates Vanessa Timmons, this year’s recipient of the annual Diane Reese Excellence in Advocacy in the Movement (“DREAM”) Award

Vanessa R. Timmons epitomizes the title of this award, as an extraordinary advocate and leader in the movement to end domestic and sexual violence. She is the Executive Director of the Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (OCADSV), and has been a writer, activist, and women’s health advocate for over 25 years. Ms. Timmons currently serves on NNEDV’s Board of Directors and previously served as the Director of Programs at Raphael House of Portland, as a Northwest regional field organizer for the National Organization for Women, and as the domestic violence program coordinator for the Multnomah County Domestic Violence Coordination Office, in addition to serving OCADSV in the past as the Women of Color Coordinator and Board Chair.

“Her approach to this work is holistic and community-centered,” said Kim Gandy, NNEDV President and CEO, in presenting the award. “Vanessa Timmons sees healing as a community-wide action, not just something for individual survivors to do.”

“As survivors of abuse, we can sometimes become so focused on getting through our moments of pain or hiding our weaknesses that we forget that we are capable of joy,” said Timmons. “We forget that we can create comfort for ourselves and that we deserve love. We lose track of our adventurous spirit; that part of us that knows how to safely take risk and play passionately. And, we abandon our inner wise women, the part of us that remembers what we are good at, where we are strong and what we want to contribute to our world.”

Ms. Timmons reflects the values that make positive change possible in our world today. Her commitment to social justice is clearly demonstrated through every initiative in which she is involved. Her peaceful passion is worth emulating. Ms. Timmons is committed to working with underserved communities and raising awareness about oppression through an educational lens.

“I really see domestic violence work as revolutionary work,” said Timmons. “Revolution happens in a community when all individuals are able to thrive.”

About the Award

Diane Reese was a founding member of the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WVCADV) and an integral champion in the passage of the Violence Against Women Act and its subsequent reauthorizations. She was a renowned educator and an ardent national activist with many accomplishments. Perhaps her most extraordinary contribution to the movement to end violence was that which emanated from her very essence and endures in her memory: that true advocacy is more than activism, duty, or responsibility. True advocacy was a way of life for Diane Reese. It was intrinsic to her very nature and apparent in her every action. What is more, Diane Reese possessed the incredible capacity to instill that advocacy spirit in others, to inspire camaraderie, and turn a movement into a community.

The DREAM Award honors an individual who incorporates and demonstrates the spirit and promise of true advocacy in all aspects of life—one who emulates Ms. Reese’s commitment to clear and ethical communication, her eagerness to collaborate in the spirit of true partnership, and her deep respect for the dignity, worth, and humanity in each one of us.