Personality: Stacey Squire

Spotlight on founder and president of Christina’s Love Foundation

5/24/2019, 6 a.m.
Stacey Squire, founder and president of Christina’s Love Foundation, is dedicated to the simple mission of getting help to all …

The African-American community seldom talks about domestic violence because many believe the situation is somebody else’s business or someone else’s problem.

Stacey Squire, founder and president of Christina’s Love Foundation, is dedicated to the simple mission of getting help to all victims of domestic violence who are in need.

Christina’s Love Foundation, located along the Jefferson Davis Highway corridor in South Side, provides information and resources for victims and survivors of domestic violence. That includes securing emergency shelter and counseling for domestic violence victims and their families, while providing safe meeting places for victims and survivors.

“Although many of the foundation’s events are located along that corridor, we have done self-defense classes for women in Chesterfield free of charge,” Ms. Squire says. “Wherever we can go in the Greater Richmond area, that’s where we will have programs.”

The foundation also partners with organizations to help address victims’ short-term and long-term needs.

For the last five years, Ms. Squire has worked as an advocate against domestic violence, speaking and taking action in the community.

On April 20, 2013, Ms. Squire’s youngest sister, Christina M. Squire, was murdered in what she says was a horrible act of domestic violence. From that point, she decided to dedicate her life to honoring her sister by raising awareness of the problem and offering help to victims.

“My mother and I were also victims of domestic violence,” the South Richmond native says. “I saw my mother being abused and I ended up in a similar situation. Although it is generational, different people deal with situations differently.”

All of the programs conducted by Christina’s Love Foundation have been funded by Ms. Squire.

“This is all out of my heart because this has to be done,” she notes.

She works full time as a private duty nurse. During the summer or around the holidays, she picks up part-time jobs to fund the foundation.

The foundation’s main goal is to teach that domestic violence is not normal.

“There is nothing normal about people talking down to you and making you feel bad or putting their hands on you,” Ms. Squire says. “We are trying to raise awareness, especially among children, because that’s how it really starts. Children later imitate what they see and the behavior repeats itself though them.”

She says domestic violence does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender or age. It happens in every community and among both women and men.

“Now there are aggressive women putting their hands on men,” she notes.

Unfortunately, she says, many people living in abusive situations stop seeing the abuse as a problem and believe it is normal.

Many of the abused don’t leave because of their dependence, financial and otherwise, on the abuser, she says. However, many times, people don’t leave an abusive situation because of love.

“The victim thinks they can help the abuser by loving them and that would change the abusive behavior,” she says.

She adds that she doesn’t believe that.

“The foundation opens the conversation door so people can be more confident in talking about their particular situation with someone and feel safe,” she says.

“Going through domestic violence is embarrassing, especially when people look at you a certain way when they find out you are a victim. The foundation wants to take away the stigma and let (victims) know it is not their fault.”

More details about the foundation are available at (828) 668-2799 or by visiting www.christinaslovefoundation.org or Christina’s Love Foundation on Facebook.

Meet an advocate for domestic violence victims and this week’s Personality, Stacey Squire:

No. 1 volunteer position: Founder and president of Christina’s Love Foundation.

Occupation: Private duty nurse.

Date and place of birth: Sept. 1 in Richmond.

Current residence: Chester.

Education: I attended George Wythe High School and later received my GED.

Family: I am a single mother of seven. After the death of my sister, I raised her two children as my own so I count the total as nine.

Reason for founding: After the brutal murder of my sister and a victim of domestic violence myself.

Resources the foundation offers: We offer emergency shelter and raise awareness with community outreach. We organize community events such as back-to-school drives and free self-defense classes. I have funded the organization but we are now expanding and seeking donations. I have been funding the CLF alone for the past few years.

How I define domestic violence: Domestic violence can be defined as intimate partner violence or domestic abuse and is a pattern of behaviors used to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence does not discriminate. Anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender can be a victim – or perpetrator – of domestic violence. It can happen to people who are married, living together or who are dating. It affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.

The reason domestic violence exists: All relationships are different but I believe domestic violence and abuse stem from a desire to gain and maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Abusive people believe they have the right to control and restrict their partners, and they may enjoy the feeling that exerting power gives them. They often believe that their own feelings and needs should be the priority in their relationships, so they use abusive tactics to dismantle equality and make their partners feel less valuable and deserving of respect in the relationship.

It could be because of childhood experiences and the abuser could have witnessed domestic violence. It could be a way of them maintaining control. It could be from major life changes such as economic circumstances, losing a job, financial difficulties that could cause stress or just insecurity. Most abusers may be afraid of victims leaving the relationship and just the fear of abandonment.

If I had more time, I would: Knock on every door and ask one question, “Are you OK?”

Quality I admire in others: Wisdom and humility, because with those things you have empathy and the knowledge of knowing oneself and not being afraid to share what you have learned to help others.

Best late-night snack: A warm brownie.

Favorite recreational activity: Hanging out with my children.

Biggest chance I ever took: Starting this foundation without knowing what I was doing or what God had in store for me but with one goal in mind — helping someone not to feel this pain that my family and I feel.

The best thing my parents ever taught me: Hard work. I was around my grandparents a lot, too, and they taught me to always do the right thing even when no one is looking and to treat people how you wanted to be treated.

At the top of my “to-do” list is: Helping as many people as I can and to give domestic violence victims a voice.

The person who influenced me the most: My principal at Fairfield Elementary School, Elizabeth B. York, had such grace and, besides my mom, made a huge impression on me. She was a woman who looked like me and took pride in everything she did and she was in charge. She showed love to all the students. Also my fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Turnage. I won a young authors contest for Richmond Public Schools and she showed me that I can do whatever I put my mind to.

If I’ve learned one thing, it is: To never judge anyone’s circumstances because you never know what they are really going through.

The book that influenced me the most: “There is More to the Secret: An Examination of Rhonda Byrne’s Bestselling Book, ‘The Secret’” by Ed Gungor.

My next goal: To raise awareness of domestic violence in every school and community and to open resource centers and shelters in Richmond and surrounding counties, and to network with other organizations across the country to reach as many people in need as I can.