In the wake of the tragedies of sexual abuse unfolding at Penn State University and Syracuse University, Child Abuse Listening & Mediation (CALM) has launched the “I Will Not Be Silent Campaign” to raise awareness for the fight against child abuse.

While the heartbreaking Penn State and Syracuse University situations are national-scale stories of child abuse being covered by the news across the country, CALM’s staff and agency partners deal with the tragedy on a regular basis locally, here in Santa Barbara County.

As Santa Barbara County’s only nonprofit organization solely dedicated to assessing, treating and preventing child abuse, CALM is launching this campaign to continue its mission to raise awareness against child abuse in Santa Barbara County, and is asking the entire community and beyond to pledge their support by adding their names to the list of those who will not be silent and will report child abuse.

This locally driven initiative is free to join, and simply asks participants to go to CALM’s website here and add their names to a list of other supporters in the community, and pledge nothing but a promise that “I Will Not Be Silent” in the face of child abuse, and will do whatever it takes to report abuse if witnessed. CALM has set an initial goal of 1,000 signatures by the end of the week.

CALM is rallying support from major community and educational leaders who have joined forces to help spread the word, and urge supporters, friends, family and the public to say “I Will Not Be Silent.”

Partners include Santa Barbara County Supervisors Janet Wolf and Salud Carbajal; Goleta Councilman Roger Aceves and his wife, Debby, a former CALM board member; Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider; Santa Barbara Councilman Grant House; Santa Maria Mayor Larry Lavagnino; Santa Maria Councilman Jack Boysen; Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley; Steve Cushman, president of the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce; Ben Romo, executive director of Santa Barbara Partners in Education; David Cash, superintendent of the Santa Barbara Unified School District; David Hetyonk, director of facilities and operations for the school district; Cleveland Elementary School Principal Mike Vail; Santa Barbara Community Academy Principal Alicia Saballa-Santana; La Colina Junior High School Principal David Ortiz; Santa Barbara Junior High School Principal Lito Garcia; Ann Peak, coordinator of certificated staff for the district; Meg Jette, interim assistant superintendent of business services for the district; Goleta Valley Junior High School Principal Veronica Rogers; La Cuesta Continuation High School Principal Kathleen Abney; Robin Sawaske, associate superintendent and director of education services for the district; Santa Barbara High School Principal John Becchio; Franklin Elementary School Principal Casie Killgore; Dos Pueblos High School Principal Shawn Carey; Mimi Hall, executive assistant in the Office of the Superintendent; and Adams Elementary School Principal Amy Alzina.

Child abuse happens every day, in every form — violence, sexual, neglect — and it continues to go unreported. Pledge your support today and join CALM’s “I Will Not Be Silent Campaign.” Click here for CALM’s Facebook page for full details and more about how you can help make a difference.

— Jennifer Guess is a publicist representing Child Abuse Listening & Mediation (CALM).