D. D. S.
Three letters, scrawled across Dee Gordon’s cleats, and glove.
Devona Denise Strange.
It was just another March day, as six-year-old Gordon’s school bus pulled up to the gated apartment complex in St. Petersburg, Florida. Ambulances and police cars, lights still flashing, sat outside the gates; the area wasn’t great, so kids knew that all the activity meant someone had either been robbed or killed. Nobody was allowed to enter the complex, and shortly after Gordon stopped off the bus two of his mother’s co-workers offered to take him to McDonald’s.
He sat at the table with them, feet dangling above the floor, as he finished his ice cream cone and small fries. Hours went by, and he began to worry - his mother would surely be upset that he’d been gone for so long. When he voiced these concerns, the family members who had gathered with him began to cry.
His mother, at age 25, had been murdered by her boyfriend, shot in the heart on her living room couch. The boyfriend who, a few weeks prior, Gordon had hit over the head with a purple, eight-pound weight to stop him from choking his mother. The same boyfriend who claimed that they were watching TV and “messing around” with the loaded gun when it discharged, but who ultimately plead no contest to manslaughter and served a five-year sentence.
In the United States 1 in 3 women and nearly 1 in 6 men experienced some form of contact sexual violence during their lifetime (according to the CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, published in 2017). On a single day in Washington state 1,413 domestic violence victims found refuge in emergency shelters or transitional housing provided by local domestic violence programs, and during that same span of time 803 people called state and local domestic violence hotlines for information, support, and safety planning, averaging 33 call every hour (per the most recent National Census of Domestic Violence Services Report).
The Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV) is the state’s leading voice to end domestic violence, and has spent the last 28 years utilizing their 501(c)3 nonprofit network of domestic violence programs to “end domestic violence through advocacy and action for social change.” And since 1997, the Mariners, and their philanthropic counterpart, Mariners Care, have been partnered with WSCADV to help accomplish this mission with the Refuse to Abuse campaign (to my knowledge they are the only MLB franchise to align with an initiative like this). A core tenant of this campaign is the Refuse to Abuse 5k.
Just like last year, I’m asking you to join us as we run, walk, and shuffle our way around Safeco Field. You can move as swiftly or as slowly as you’d like, and then adjourn to Blazing Bagels with the rest of the team, because what is running if not an excuse to consume copious amounts of carbohydrates? We’d love to see you there, and your support of WSCADV and the Mariners’ partnership would mean the world.
To register, click here. The name of our team is Lookout Landing, and I (Isabelle) am the captain.
When/Where: Safeco Field on Saturday July 21, 2018. Packet pick up runs from 7-8:30 AM, and the race itself begins at 9:00.
Cost: $40 until June 15th, and $45 after. The cost includes a medal, “technical shirt,” and goody bag, as well as all-important free parking in the garage across from Safeco. It would behoove you to sign up soon, since the event is limited to 1,750 participants and sells out rapidly.