Women’s History Month: Celebrating the Women who Helped Shape our Community’s History and Future

womensMarch is Women’s History Month; a time to reflect on the accomplishments of women and honor their role in helping to shape our nation and community’s history and future.

This 35-year celebration of women began in 1978 in Sonoma County, California as “Women’s History Week”. In 1987, Congress expanded the week-long celebration to a month, and March was declared Women’s History Month. This year Hubbard House, the domestic violence center serving Duval and Baker counties, wants to take Women’s History Month as a chance to celebrate the women who have made strides against domestic violence in our community.

Hubbard House’s beginnings came on a mild Sunday afternoon in 1976, 37 years ago. Ellen Spangler and a few of her close friends were bicycling in downtown Jacksonville. As they bicycled into an old residential section called Springfield, Ellen suddenly stopped and cried, “This is it!” She had found a haven of refuge on that small street.

That refuge became the first location for Hubbard House. The house was purchased by The Jacksonville Women’s Movement (JWM) and named Hubbard House for the street where it was located. Soon after, as Ellen had intended, this house would serve as a place of refuge, a shelter for abused women and their children. Hubbard House became the first battered women’s shelter in Florida.

Over the years, Hubbard House has expanded to provide services to meet the needs of women, children and men who have been affected by domestic violence, intervention for children who have lived with violence, and programs that work with abusers on changing the attitudes and beliefs that sanction violence. Currently around 1,000 victims and their children stay in its Emergency Shelter and more than 4,000 women, children and men are provided services through the Hubbard House Outreach Center.

The dream of a couple of women in 1976 who had just $4,000 and great faith in the future has become a valued resource for our community. Hubbard House continues to write its 37-year history in parallel with the celebration of women which began on another coast.

JOIN THE MOVEMENT: This March, during Women’s History Month, make the commitment that these brave women did 37 years ago and help raise awareness about domestic violence by participating in the 4th Annual Setting the Pace for Peace Domestic Violence Awareness Walk on Saturday, April 6th. Visit www.hubbardhousewalk.com to register.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship please call the Hubbard House domestic violence hotline at 1-800-500-1119 or 904-354-3114. Hubbard House can help.

ABOUT HUBBARD HOUSE: Hubbard House is a certified, comprehensive domestic violence center providing programs and services to more than 5,000 women, children, and men annually in Duval and Baker counties. While Hubbard House is most known for its emergency shelter, the agency also provides extensive adult and youth outreach services, school-based education, therapeutic childcare, batterers’ intervention programs, court advocacy and volunteer and community education opportunities. Visit www.hubbardhouse.org to learn more.

By Ashley Johnson Scott, Hubbard House Community Relations Coordinator

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