Berkshire Eagle letter to the editor

Letter: Domestic violence is a tragedy, and an outrage


To the editor:

Again. It’s happened again. Another death. Another woman allegedly killed by her male partner (“911 call sheds light on killing,” Eagle, April 18). It isn’t a new problem and it isn’t unique to us. It happens in the city; it happens in the country. It happens to mothers. Their children are often witnesses. It happens to white women and even more often to women of color. It often happens when women are in the process of leaving or after they have left (so please don’t blame them for staying).

Kassedi Clark is the second woman murdered in the Berkshires in 2018 and it is only the middle of April.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, almost all women (95 percent) killed by intimates are killed by current or former partners. In 2015, it happened more than 1,900 times in this country. The weapon is most frequently a gun.

Every single one of these deaths is one too many! Every single one is both a tragedy and an outrage!

If you or a loved one has been affected by domestic violence or sexual assault call Elizabeth Freeman Center 24/7 at 866-401-2425.

Wednesday’s Eagle notes that donations to help cover the costs of Kassedi’s funeral can be made via a GoFundMe page at

It is my hope that Kassedi rests in peace, but the rest of us cannot rest at all. We have a lot of world-changing to do!

Susan Birns,


The writer is a board member, Elizabeth Freeman Center.

Berkshire Eagle letter to the editor

Letter: Late but timely celebration of global Women’s Day


To the editor:

International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8 every year. It is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights. But for some there is still a question: Why is International Women’s Day so important?

Here in the U.S., women have made undeniable advances, from American boardrooms and courts of law to universities and sports arenas. Yet disparities remain, especially in poor or rural areas and in communities of color. We are liberated, but not empowered. We are burdened by unequal pay, high risk of domestic violence and sexual assault, outright denial of access to affordable healthcare, and although we make-up 51 percent of the population only 19 percent of Congress is composed of women.

We’ve seen a great swell in women leaders coming forward with actions that continually bring to the stage the reasons women need to be celebrated. We are the keepers of rhw survival of humanity. Study after study shows that when women do better, their communities see a direct benefit. Therein is the answer as to why celebrating and ultimately sharing “power” on a true equal scale with women is nothing short of enlightened.

Justice, dignity, hope, equality, collaboration, tenacity, appreciation, respect, empathy and forgiveness. These 10 values are why the Elizabeth Freeman Center has adopted IWD as one of its favorite holidays, with its global focus on equality and celebration of women. These values drive the agency’s mission. Since 1974 Elizabeth Freeman Center has provided leadership and services to address domestic and sexual violence in Berkshire County, every day, 24 hours a day. International Women’s Day puts women back at the center and reminds us of their goodness. It reminds us why the struggle is important and to not lose hope — and why “failure is impossible.”

This year our beautiful but strong (much like women) Berkshires weather asserted itself. We had to postpone the March 8 IWD community celebration due to a nor’easter. With April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we’re inviting everyone to join us at Flavours of Malaysia with our friends and supporters to celebrate the wondrous achievements of women and come out in support of IWD and the work of Elizabeth Freeman Center. Join us on Thursday, April 12 at 6 p.m. More information and tickets for the evening are at

Kim Rivers,


The writer is a member of the board of directors for Elizabeth Freeman Center Inc.