Editor's Note: The following letter was sent yesterday to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, from the Justice and Peace Committee of Presbyterian Women in the PC(USA), Inc.
October 15, 2014
Greetings Commissioner Goodell,
On behalf of Presbyterian Women in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Inc., and PC(USA) Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons, this letter is being sent to commend your stance on domestic violence published in the August 29, 2014 edition of USA Today (“NFL Toughens Its Stance on Domestic Violence”). Your commitment to understanding the complexities of domestic violence incidents, reporting and recovery is laudable, as is your work in creating policies for the NFL that show violence against women will not be tolerated.
Presbyterian Women, Inc., is an organization in covenant with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which is comprised of more than 10,000 congregations and 1.7 million members. Presbyterian Women includes more than 200,000 active women leaders in diverse congregations throughout the United States. One of the four main purposes of the organization is to work for justice and peace. As such, advocating for an end to violence against women and children is central to the work we do.
Each March for at least the last 10 years, a delegation of Presbyterians (that includes members of Presbyterian Women) has attended the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) as a nongovernmental organization. Presbyterian representatives join thousands of women and a few men from around the world to address priority themes chosen by the Commission. In 2015 the priority theme will be Beijing + 20. During this 59th session of the Commission, there will be a review of the progress made in the 20 years since the Fourth World Conference on Women adopted the Beijing Platform for Action (an agenda for women’s empowerment that advances power sharing between men and women). At the time of the 1995 conference, 12 critical concerns for women were identified. Of those, violence against women ranked in the top five. Even today, the crime of violence against women still ranks as a top concern and persists as a social justice issue.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Presbyterian Women and other faith-based communities will continue to advocate for justice for women. With dedicated men such as you working in the public and private sectors and collaborating with us, we hope to eradicate violence against women and girls. Any steps—small and large—are critical. Your continued effort to address this issue in the NFL is vital to justice, dignity and respect for women.
Mary Cook Jorgenson, Moderator, Presbyterian Women
Sheila Louder, Vice Moderator, Justice and Peace Concerns, Presbyterian Women
Gradye Parsons, State Clerk, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)