the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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Engaging Fathers to Stop Domestic Violence

Dr. Roderick Mitchell, founder and pastor of the New Life Church, uses community projects and programs to encourage fathers and survivors of abuse to break the generational cycle of domestic violence.

Ed. Note: Champions of Change is a weekly initiative to highlight Americans who are making an impact in their communities and helping our country rise to meet the many challenges of the 21st century.

I cannot take the credit for what God has empowered me to do. I also appreciate the White House acknowledging the need to stand up and fight for victims of domestic violence by recognizing change and champions within our nation. I have found that silence is deadly when a community does not speak nor reach out to others who are in need of support. It has become one of my missions to break the generational cycle of domestic violence.

The lyrics of our national anthem, the Star Spangled Banner says, “O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!” Yet, victims of domestic violence are never free in their home, they are always at war. I remember one Christmas Eve, my mom, brother, sister and I experienced a horrible incident of violence at the hand of my father. It was only by the Grace of God that we were able to see past that day. I am humble and honored to be here to represent fathers and survivors of domestic violence, becoming a voice within the community, reaching out to local cities, state and the nation with a message of hope, compassion and freedom.

Violence is everywhere in my community and that violence has been my personal call to action. In 1995, I was humbled to be asked to be a co-founder of Our House, Inc., domestic violence and sexual assault community project. In 2010, our agency served 2,758 men, women, and children with direct services and 9,407 adults, youth, and children participating in an Our House prevention program. I co-sponsored “A Father’s Conversation” Media Blitz to engage men in the movement to stop domestic violence in our community. This consisted of several television shows and photo showings of fathers who have been exposed to domestic violence. I have spoken to over 12,000 youth on building and maintaining healthy relationships. I have given my testimony to over 100 churches.  All in an effort to communicate to as many people as I can that it is our job to enlighten people on the strength within us to help others.

Dr. Roderick Mitchell is the Founder and Pastor of the New Life Church, Inc. of Cleveland, Mississippi, Founder and President of Exodus School of the Bible in Renova, MS, and Bishop and Founder of Miletus Covenant Connection.