W.H. Adamson Athletic Coordinator Josh Ragsdale said he wanted one young man from every high school athletic program in Dallas to take the pledge against domestic violence. By the end of the project’s first year, his players asked, “Why just Dallas, why not more?”
“This isn’t just an ‘athlete’ problem we have in regards to domestic violence,” Ragsdale said. “People everywhere love sports. They love watching sports. And we that compete in a sport have a platform we can utilize to spread such an important message that could potentially save a life.”
Football programs across the district embraced the efforts, posting photos to social media of their athletes holding hand-written pledges against domestic violence. When Ragsdale began his grass-roots domestic violence awareness initiative three years ago, he had no idea the gesture would become a movement that prompted conversations and visits from domestic violence awareness groups from around the world. Ragsdale’s work landed him the Genesis Women’s Shelter’s HeRo award, an acronym for He Respects Others, for his efforts.
“In the beginning, this project was our hope to help at least one person. If one person was granted an opportunity to seek help or talk about their abuse or violence issues, our project would be a success,” Ragsdale said. “Not only has our project allowed that, but it has helped the Domestic Violence Awareness movement advance.”
Domestic Violence Awareness Month takes place each October. This month, as has happened the past two years, Ragsdale is leading the charge against domestic violence with his student-athletes, reminding the world of the power of a picture and the reach of this message.
In previous years, Ragsdale only extended the invitation for participation to district football programs. This year, he is encouraging anyone who is interested in participating to fill out the pledge sheet, take a picture of them holding the sheet, and upload it to social media using the hashtag #LeopardsAgainstAbuse.
For more information or to make the pledge to end domestic violence, visit http://adamsonathletics.com/pledge.