Coalition encourages more to pursue advocacy
The Northern Marianas Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence recently named long-time Karidat Social Services advocate Calvani P. Deleon Guerrero as the recipient of the 2021 Bridge of Light Award.
The annual Bridge of Light Award is presented by NMCADSV to honor one extraordinary individual who has worked diligently to provide safety for the community, to work to end domestic violence and sexual assault, and to be a “bridge of light” for victims and survivors in the CNMI.
The ninth award recipient, Deleon Guerrero, has worked as an advocate at Karidat Social Services for over a decade, assisting victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, and human trafficking. From helping file temporary restraining orders to accompanying to CNMI Family Court to explaining available services like shelter and counseling, Deleon Guerrero has provided this help to hundreds of victims and survivors over the years.
Prior to working at Karidat Social Services, Deleon Guerrero pursued a career in law enforcement at the Honolulu Police Department before returning home to Saipan and briefly serving as the director of the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs’ Division of Youth Services.
Deleon Guerrero’s nominator wrote that he should receive the award “not necessarily because of one specific accomplishment or action but because of his constant steady dependable presence that puts victims first and puts victims at ease…perhaps during one of the scariest and most anxious times in their lives.”
“If you are a victim and [when] you know you have an advocate next to you, one that offers you the strength at a time when you can’t find your own, you know you are not alone,” they added.
After receiving the Bridge of Light award at the recent Domestic Violence Awareness Month proclamation signing ceremony at Saipan World Resort, Deleon Guerrero thanked his colleagues and his family, including his wife and three daughters, and recognized other partner agencies and notable guests in attendance. He also addressed victims and survivors, and what advocacy means in his remarks.
“This job is due to a greater cause and that is to help others in need. …This is not about me; this is about the victims who show so much courage,” said Deleon Guerrero. “You inspire us to continue the movement so when you are ready, we are ready.”
“Congratulations to Calvani Deleon Guerrero for being this year’s Bridge of Light Award recipient,” said Reina C. Camacho, NMCADSV board chair. “We were very moved and inspired by words on the nomination form and those by Calvani.”
“It was an important reminder that advocacy is not about saving people but helping people find that they have the strength to find safety and healing,” said Camacho. “This is what being a bridge of light for victims and survivors means.”
Camacho added, “We also hope that those who want to help others and improve our islands will consider pursuing a career in social work and advocacy.”
Part of the Bridge of Light award consists of a self-care package with a variety of gift certificates and vouchers sponsored by Bridge Capital, IT&E, and the Tan Siu Lin Foundation. Deleon Guerrero will also be receiving the opportunity to take part in a retreat or a training courtesy of NMCADSV.
“Thank you so much to Bridge Capital, IT&E, and the Tan Siu Lin Foundation for your continued support of the Bridge of Light Award and for believing in the movement to end violence in the CNMI,” said Camacho.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing violence or abuse, call 911 for emergencies. You can also call the Karidat Victim Hotline at 234-5100 for counseling or to ask questions. (PR)