Solicitor General brings “dancing with the stars”event to DeKalb

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According to DeKalb County Solicitor General Donna Coleman-Stribling, approximately 35 percent of the cases seen in her office involve domestic abuse.

Stribling said she wanted to create a way to bring awareness to domestic violence in DeKalb County while also being able to make people laugh and smile—thus “Dancing with DeKalb Stars” was born.

Dancing with the DeKalb Stars will take place Oct. 14 at the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts and Community Center. Proceeds from the event will go to DeKalb domestic abuse nonprofits, The Women’s Resource Center to End Domestic Violence and The International Women’s House.

The event, based on the popular television show “Dancing with the Stars,” will feature 11 teams. Each team will have a dance professional partnered with a member of DeKalb County’s legal, public safety, business or civic community.

Coleman-Stribling said she’s thrilled that so many different county officials were willing to partner to bring the event into fruition.

“It’s only going to be with partnering with these organizations, sitting down as a community and recognizing that we have an issue that the problem will start to get better,” Coleman-Stribling said. “It’s just one of those things that you do better with a group of people than you do alone.”

Some of those competing in the event will include former DeKalb County Sheriff Thomas Brown, DeKalb County Commissioner Kathie Gannon, Dunwoody Chief of Police Billy Grogan, DeKalb County Fire and Rescue Spokesperson Captain Eric Jackson and a guest performance from DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond.

“Once we said go, we kind of ran with the idea and the response has been great so far. We’ve had a lot of input,” Coleman-Stribling said. “We’ve had a lot of people volunteer their time.”

Anna Blau, executive director for the International Women’s House, said she’s happy the nonprofit will be one of the recipients of the fundraising event.

The nonprofit serves as a shelter for abused women and children across the county and puts a special emphasis on immigrants and refugees, she said.

“They are sending a powerful message that everyone’s life matters. We serve some undocumented women and children and it feels inspiring knowing [county officials] support our cause,” Blau said. “These collaborations are the glue that holds us together.”

Interprint Communications owners Monica and Veronica Maldonando will host the competition.
Judges of the dance competition are Emmy nominated producer Stepp Stewart, Anana Harris-Parris, founder of the Self-Care Agency, and President and CEO of the DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce, Katerina Taylor.

The nonprofit organizations will also have an opportunity for an expo before the start of the event.

“Awareness is a really big piece to ending violence against women,” said Jean Douglas, executive director of The Women’s Resource Center to End Domestic Violence. “This is a different kind of way to spread the message. This can be a fun and engaging event for the community and people can walk away with something.”

Douglas said DeKalb County has a history of advocating for ending domestic violence. Coleman-Stribling said she hopes the event can become an annual competition and fundraiser.

Tickets for the event can be purchased at www.dancingwithdekalbstars.eventbrite.com.

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