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Alaskans Unite to “Choose Respect” Sixty-Four Communities Hold Annual Event

March 31, 2011, Anchorage, Alaska – Sixty-four communities across the state today took part in the public awareness campaign “Choose Respect,” with events ranging from marches to rallies to Eskimo dancing. “Choose Respect” is an ongoing annual effort to raise awareness of the epidemic and take action to end sexual assault and domestic violence in Alaska.

“A year ago, we asked Alaskans to show up at Choose Respect rallies and marches around the state,” Governor Parnell said. “Last year 18 Alaska communities stepped forward. We started to redefine what it means to be an Alaskan by standing up for a shared value of respect. In many of our Alaska cultures, it means a return to a traditional value that needs to be strengthened and supported across our state.

“Victims came forward, many for the first time. Seeing people participating in marches across the state gave them courage to break the silence. The blame they had carried with them for years was lifted by the supporters marching for them, and for change.

“After today, with Alaskans rallying in more than 60 communities, more victims and survivors will come forward. More harm will be revealed, but more wounded Alaskans will know help is available. This was more than a march today – this was an important turning point in our state’s history.”

Governor Parnell led a march from Anchorage’s Delaney Park Strip to a rally in Town Square Park; Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell led a march in Wasilla; and state commissioners joined forces with community partners across the state to participate in events from Metlakatla to Noatak.

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