DISPLAYS OF CHARACTER
Meet the WRD Campaign Ambassadors displayed in the Exhibit
- Albert Pless
- Alex Gordillo
- Andy Polanco
- Bob Russo
- Fred Jewett
- Jarrod Chin
- John Laing
- Leonard Hayes
- Malcolm Astley
- Paulo Pinto
- Ramesh Advani
- Robert Bongiorno
- Yevin Roh
BECOME AN AMBASSADOR TODAY!
Ambassadors agree to wear the ribbon on White Ribbon Day and recruit 5 to 10 male friends and colleagues to join them in taking the WRD pledge.
CORPORATE SPONSORS FOR DISPLAYS OF CHARACTER
Ambassador Robert Bongiorno
Chief of Police Bedford, MA
“Healthy masculinity involves being honest about your feelings, being sensitive and caring with others, and standing up for what is right.”
Robert Bongiorno is the Chief of Police for Bedford, MA. When he first took his post, one of the critical issues he wanted to address was domestic violence. In the process of communicating with representatives of the Domestic Violence Service Network, the JDI member orgainization in his community, he learned about the White Ribbon Day (WRD) Campaign. For Chief Bongiorno becoming a WRD Ambassador was a reflection of “both a personal and professional commitment to stopping violence against women. It was a natural fit. It sent a message to my colleagues, to survivors and to the entire community that not only will we not tolerate sexual and domestic violence but also we want to create a different environment in which healthy choices are valued and expected.”
Chief Bongiorno sees the WRD as a campaign all about promoting “respect in the community.” Becoming an ambassador further propelled him to work with local schools, the Board of Health, Department of Children and Families, and other community services to establish a “systematic culture” of promoting healthy masculinity. Under his leadership, Bedford Day which is held every September became an annual opportunity to promote the WRD Campaign and have community members sign the pledge.
Chief Bongiorno wasn’t satisfied to stop there. He developed a good relationship with the athletic director of the town high school, and together they worked to promote the WRD values among the captains of the various sports teams. He explains, “These captains are respected by both their peers and the wider community. Now it’s these male athletes who represent the WRD to the community on Bedford Day. Because of the turnover of students serving as captains, the ongoing success of this initiative depends on our embedding this new culture in the community.”
“Healthy masculinity involves being honest about your feelings, being sensitive and caring with others, and standing up for what is right” reflects Chief Bongiorno. He recognizes that sexual and domestic violence “affect people from all walks of life,” and therefore even in a relatively privileged community like Bedford, “ongoing education to promote healthy masculinity” is important. For Chief Bongiorno, the most important thing men can do to stop violence against women is to “create a clear, visible statement promoting a vision of healthy manhood” through their words and actions in their relationships, families, workplaces and communities.
He would like to see many more WRD Ambassadors in the years ahead and hopes to see “other towns find ways they too can promote the WRD message. Because this campaign is not limited to addressing physical violence against women exclusively, the opportunities exist for local communities to look at how sexism, homophobia, and inequality across the spectrum are impacting our neighbors, friends and family. I hope the WRD Campaign can spur people on to promote universal equality and respect, with the stance against violence against women as the backbone.”
When he first began his work combating domestic violence in his community, Chief Bongiorno discovered for the first time that a family member of his had been a victim of domestic violence. This family member thanked him for his efforts, and this moment of encountering her pain and hope simultaneously solidified his commitment to leadership in being part of the solution to end men’s violence against women.