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Beverly Gooden, viral hashtag creator and victims’ right advocate, will deliver East Central University’s Louise Young Diversity Lecture on Tuesday, March 5, at 7 p.m. in the Ataloa Theatre of the Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center.

A domestic violence survivor, Gooden will share her personal experience and how communities can strive to end domestic violence. Her program is entitled “Why I Stayed, The Complexity of Domestic Violence.”

The event is free and open to the public.

Gooden created the 2014 domestic violence survivor-led movement called Why I Stayed. Her hashtag, #WhyIStayed, was named by TIME as one of the “Top 10 Hashtags That Started a Conversation” and is one of “Eight Hashtags That Changed the World” according to CNN affiliate, HLN.

She has appeared on Good Morning America, the Dr. Phil Show, Inside Edition, CNN, NPR and NBC Nightly News. Her story and social media impact have been featured in the Washington Post, Marie Claire, USA Today, CNN Money, Bloomberg, BBC News and more.

Gooden has also provided original content featured in TIME, The New York Times, The TODAY Show online, the U.S. Office on Women’s Health Blog and has served on a panel at Verizon’s 2014 Domestic Violence Summit. In 2015, she was featured in the short film “Why We Stayed” by the Emmy-nominated producers of Private Violence.

She was honored by Investigation Discovery and Glamour Magazine as their 2015 Inspire A Difference “Everyday Hero” award. She has been featured in a Toyota commercial discussing her work with the Ella Mae Foundation, a not-for-profit, founded to provide practical support, guidance and services to victims of domestic violence.

In 2017, she linked up with the Allstate Foundation’s “Purple Purse” to produce web videos explaining financial abuse and the importance of financial freedom for women.

Professional continuing education units for this event have been approved for CPS, CLEET, LADC, CADC, LCSW, Case Managers, and peer recovery support specialists. CEU's have been requested for LPC and LMFT.

The lecture is sponsored by Young, who is a graduate of Ada Public Schools and East Central University (B.A. in geography in 1969). She earned a master’s and doctorate from the University of Colorado. From 1971 to 1974, Young was an instructor of geography at ECU. In 2008, Young established an endowed lectureship within the ECU Foundation with the goal of presenting an annual free lecture for students, faculty and community members on various aspects of diversity.

Young retired as senior software engineer with Raytheon Company, where she worked for 34 years. In addition to her software engineering career, she has received numerous awards for her work in diversity, both inside and outside of corporate America, especially with regards to equal treatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals. In 2003, she received the prestigious Raytheon Diversity Heroes Award from Raytheon CEO Bill Swanson.


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