OPBSI Honorary Sister Chosen as NFL Senior Advisor for Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault
New York, NY – September 18, 2014
* For Immediate Release *
Director of Public Relations
Omega Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated (OPBSI) is proud to announce that Honorary Sister Rita Smith, the former executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, was chosen by National Football League (NFL) Commissioner Roger Goodell, as one of the senior advisors to help shape the league’s policies on domestic violence and sexual assault matters.
In the midst of recent news on how the NFL responded to domestic violence incidents of former NFL Player Ray Rice, the league created a senior advisors team. Ms. Smith will serve on the team with two other women: Lisa Friel, the former head of the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit in the New York County District Attorney's Office; and NO MORE co-founder Jane Randel. All three members will work closely with the organization on the development and implementation of the league's policies, resources and outreach on issues of domestic violence and sexual assault.
“Domestic violence has long been a critical but often overlooked issue in our society and particularly within the sports industry. While we are saddened by the stories that have come to light we are also hopeful knowing that the NFL has reached out to one of our sisters who is not only a leader and important activist with domestic violence awareness, but also an expert in the field with years of experience” stated Elizaveta Reyes-Tomé, interim National President and Chair of the Board of Trustees for OPBSI. “The reaction in the media and across the country to the situation has created momentum to spread awareness of the issue. OPBSI has a responsibility to be at the forefront of these issues due to our national philanthropy of Raising Awareness of Violence Against Women. We must continue to not only provide funding but a vocal platform to the victims and families. We hope that others join the movement of activism and take the opportunity to participate by our sides at our national Ray of Hope Walk (ROHW) on October 4th in New York City and October 5th in Chicago.”
In the United States, over 22 million women have been victims of sexual assault in their lifetime. The ROHW will shed light on the various forms of violence against women and girls, and also raise funds to assist organizations working towards ending gender based violence. For more information visit: Ray of Hope Walk Website
Rita Smith “Began working as a crisis line advocate in a shelter for battered women and their children in Colorado in 1981. She has held numerous positions in Colorado and Florida since then in several local domestic violence and sexual assault programs and the state coalitions, including Program Supervisor and Director. She was the Executive Director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence for nearly 23 years. She has been interviewed by hundreds of newspaper reporters, appeared on many local and national radio and television news shows, including the Washington Post, USA Today, People Magazine, NPR, The Today Show, Good Morning America and Oprah Winfrey Show. She has co-authored several articles or chapters for books including a manual for attorneys working with domestic violence victims in Colorado, and an article on child custody and domestic violence published in the fall of 1997 in The Judges Journal (an American Bar Association publication). In December of 2011 she was named Distinguished Alumnus of Polk State College, and in November of 2013 she was chosen by the Association of Florida Colleges for the LeRoy Collins Lifetime Achievement Award. She believes that advocacy and social change are intricately connected, and cannot be done separately. She graduated from Polk State College in 1974 with an AA degree in Psychology. She received her Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Michigan State in 1976. She lives in Denver, Colorado.”
Omega Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated is a Greek-lettered organization committed to spreading the Awareness of Violence Against Women. The mission of OPBSI is to serve and educate people of diverse backgrounds through sisterhood, leadership and guidance. As positive role models, we promote unity of all cultures, focus on the empowerment of our gender and raise the standards of excellence in our academic, social, and personal endeavors. OPBSI envisions a world without oppression, where empowered women celebrate the essence of womanhood and act as resources in the advancement of their communities. For more information visit: www.OmegaPhiBeta.org