Suicide Prevention Awareness Month: A Powerful, Heartfelt, and Hope-filled Presentation

RVDW’s summer meeting hiatus came to an end on Friday when members gathered to focus on September as National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. With compassion and clarity, our guest speakers led attendees through sometimes difficult facts while encouraging discussion about the prevalence of and increase in suicide in our daily lives. There was opportunity for questions and answers and powerful personal reflection.

Ms. Scales, Ms. Johnson, and Ms. Goodman all expressed hopefulness as they see the stigma around discussing suicide receding. In this environment, and beyond September, we can all take action to make a difference and help prevent and reduce suicide:

  • Educate your friends, families, coworkers.
  • Mobilize support in your community, churches, civic groups, etc.
  • Pay attention to legislation and funding (local, state, national).

The following presentation file was prepared for RVDW and has been shared by Julia Scales. Note: This presentation is meant to be informative, not diagnostic.

Some of the resources referenced in the above presentation include:
Homepage | Zero Suicide (
SAMHSA – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline – Call. Text. Chat. (
Suicide Prevention Resource for Action | Suicide | CDC

Thank You to Our September Speakers:

Julia Scales, LCSW

Julia Scales is Director of Behavioral Health Integration at New Horizons Healthcare and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Julia has worked in the behavioral health field for almost ten years. She is passionate about dismantling barriers, supporting underserved populations, and creating safe spaces for healing. In her free time, Julia enjoys reading, watching documentaries and trips to Lowes with her fiancé.

Danielle Johnson, LMHP-S

Danielle Johnson is a Licensed Eligible Mental Health Professional with over a decade of experience in the Roanoke community. Danielle works at Roanoke City Public Schools as a School Social Worker and performs outpatient counseling in private practice. Danielle’s passion for mental health awareness, advocacy, service, and community engagement continues to fuel her purpose of being a trailblazer and change agent for the Roanoke community. In her free time, Danielle enjoys making aromatherapy candles, being in nature, and watching Marvel movies with her two sons.

Sarah Goodman is a local Realtor and the current GOTV Organizer for Red Wine & Blue. Sarah was a public school teacher and leader of the Roanoke County Education Association for many years, and she left her teaching job to be able to devote more energy to fighting the extremist takeover our public schools are facing. She is excited to share the resources developed by Red Wine & Blue to help women organize to protect our rights. Sarah is a mother of two sons, and she loves to read, hike, cook, and play with her dogs.

Meet Author Margaret Edds, “What the Eyes Can’t See”

Monday, September 11, 2023
Bellacino’s Pizza & Grinders, 1176 Roanoke Rd., Daleville
Host: Democratic Committee of Botetourt County
6:30pm: DCBC Business Meeting
7:00pm: Speaker Margaret Edds

The Democratic Commitee of Botetourt County invites all to hear guest speaker Margaret Edds, former journalist and author, and to discuss her latest work, “What the Eyes Can’t See: Ralph Northam, Black Resolve, and a Racial Reckoning.”

The book’s publisher, University of South Carolina Press, summarizes the work as follows: “Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s ‘blackface scandal’ could have destroyed any politician. The photo of Governor Northam purportedly in blackface created a firestorm not only locally but also in every political sphere. What the Eyes Can’t See details why Northam’s career did not end with the scandal, and how it made him a better governor—and a better citizen.”

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Let’s get Lily Franklin Elected to the House of Delegates

Summer is quickly coming to an end, but there is much going on for candidates! We want to be sure you know about upcoming opportunities to engage in support of Democratic candidate Lily Franklin for House of Delegates District 41. Hers is a HIGHLY competitive race and could be key to flipping the HOD back to blue! As Virginia’s Election Day 2023 is about 80 days away, there’s no time like the present to get involved!

Here are just a few of the many events on Lily’s busy calendar:

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Meet & Greet: US Rep. Abigail Spanberger

Join us to hear from and speak with US Rep. Spanberger on Friday, August 18 at 6:30.

US Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-VA7)

Rep. Abigail Spanberger is one of three Democratic women in Virginia’s U.S. House of Representatives delegation. While she proudly represents Virginia’s 7th District, Rep Spanberger cares deeply for all Virginians and is determined to meet and get to know the entire state as well as she knows her own district.

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FREE: Annual CPR and AED Education Day

“The wait is over,” announces the Compress and Shock Foundation of Roanoke. Join them on Saturday, June 3, 2023 for the 7th Annual CPR and AED Education Day. REGISTER HERE for a FREE, 1-hour CPR and AED education class at a location near you!

The Compress and Shock Foundation is a Roanoke based 501-c-3 non-profit whose mission is to bring free and equitable access to CPR and AED education to all communities. Vice Director Dr. Karen Perkins, a guest speaker at the RVDW February 2023 membership meeting, brought home to all in attendance the importance of public awareness and increased CPR training including the use of AED equipment.

RVDW is pleased to spread the word of this important opportunity. Please consider attending this important event.

May Membership Meeting: A Focus on Gun Violence Awareness, Prevention, and Action

As next month is Gun Violence Awareness Month across our nation, and as gun violence is ever-increasingly in our daily headlines, in our neighborhoods, and for far, far too many for too long, in our and our loved ones’ lives, RVDW is humbled and honored to welcome three distinguished guest speakers for our May 26th Monthly Membership Meeting: Dr. Catherine Koebel Stromberg, Ms. Rita Joyce, and Vice-Mayor Joe Cobb to address gun violence and gun violence awareness. (Read more about speakers below.)

This year, the 9th annual Gun Violence Awareness Day will be recognized here and across the country on June 2. In anticipation and preparation for this and other activities and activism of the next several weeks, we hope you will join us on Friday, May 26th. Each of our guests will share their experiences and expertise in gun violence and gun violence prevention and bring us information on how and where to get involved during June and beyond. A sampling of upcoming events to support and amplify includes June 2-4, WEAR ORANGE: Roanoke Gun Violence Awareness Weekend, 2023 Annual Community Prayer Breakfast, and June 24, Groceries Not Guns – 2023 Buyback Event.

Meeting details: Friday, May 26 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

@Jersey Lily’s Roadhouse, 1650 Braeburn Dr., Ridgewood Farms Shopping Center, Salem, VA. Our program begins at 12:OO noon followed by the business meeting. Please arrive at 11:30 if you are ordering lunch.

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Meet Our 2023 Democratic Candidates for Virginia House & Senate

Following the invitation by Roanoke Valley Democratic Women, all six of the announced 2023 Democratic candidates in our area for the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate have accepted and will be at RVDW’s April monthly membership meeting.

On Friday, April 28, 2023, at Jersey Lily’s Roadhouse (1650 Braeburn Drive) in the Ridgewood Farms shopping center, RVDW members will hear the candidates, or representative, address their legislative priorities and credentials and share materials. The program begins at 12:00 noon followed by our business meeting. Please arrive at 11:30 if you are ordering lunch.

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PPSAT’s Sumpter: “You’re Invited to Standing Strong Roanoke Spring Luncheon”

A message from our March meeting guest speaker, Emily Sumpter, Associate Director of Donor Relations & Stewardship, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic:

Dear Community Partners,

We are writing to invite you to Planned Parenthood South Atlantic (PPSAT)’s Standing Strong Roanoke Spring Luncheon on Thursday, April 27, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Taubman Museum of Art.

Standing Strong Roanoke will support the critical work and mission of PPSAT as we navigate post-Roe America. Support from the event will allow PPSAT to keep fighting for abortion access and continue to serve patients through sexual and reproductive health care and education services.

We will be joined by keynote speaker Rebecca Traister. Rebecca is a writer-at-large at New York Magazine, where she covers women in politics, media, and culture from a feminist perspective. She is also the author of Good and Mad, All the Single Ladies, and Big Girls Don’t Cry.

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Filler-Corn Portrait Unveiled: “The first but definitely not the last.”

A great moment in 2023 Women’s History Month in Virginia. As reported by WRIC, the portrait of former Virginia House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, the first woman and Jewish speaker in the House of Delegates’ 404-year history, was unveiled at the state Capitol on Wednesday, March 15, 2023. (Read the entire WRIC coverage here.)

Image from

This week, Filler-Corn sent her supporters this reflection on the historical moment.

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