This month, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Pastor J.R. Thicklin, CEO of Destiny By Choice of West Palm Beach, is crossing the country addressing this critical issue of concern in the African-American community. Thicklin, a domestic violence practitioner, and one of the nation’s leading experts on the issue, is booked nearly every day – taking to the airwaves, addressing crowds big and small, even hosting and conducting symposia, all in hopes of helping the masses truly understand why domestic violence occurs and what to do about it when it does.

According to Thicklin, who’s been on the frontlines of the issue for 21 years, everyone knows someone involved in a domestic violence relationship. Churches and pastors, he said, particularly don’t know how to handle these cases when they come before the church. And individuals are often at a loss as to how to handle it when they find themselves at the mercy of a domestic violence perpetrator.

The lack of knowledge was demonstrated recently in the case of NFL football player Ray Rice, where there was much confusion and uncertainty about how to handle the situation. Many missteps were made by the National Football League officials and all of those involved. Thicklin says it demonstrated that it’s a complex issue that needs addressing. That’s why Thicklin is holding two important events this weekend, hoping people will come from all across the state, and even from out of state to learn just how to address the issue of domestic violence, whether they are in an abusive relationship or just watching from afar.

On this Thursday, October 16, Thicklin will host and facilitate, “A Community Conversation About Domestic Violence,” from 6pm-8pm at the Riviera Beach City Hall Complex, located at 600 W. Blue Heron Boulevard, Riviera Beach. (Palm Beach County). The “Community Conversation” will be a barometer of the general community and their sentiments and knowledge about domestic violence, in which they will have the opportunity to be heard and educated at the same time.

Attendees’ knowledge will be put to the Myth or Fact Test as well as how they perceive domestic violence, what they know and what they can do about it. They will converse about everything from safety, rights and restraining orders to arrest, prosecution and the court systems. “It’s critical that everyone is in attendance, because certainly you know someone in this situation,” said Thicklin. “The Community Conversation About Domestic Violence allows an opportunity to hear the unscripted voices of community members with the hopes of increasing our sense of understanding about the traumatic impact of domestic violence. It allows an opportunity to hear their challenges and dilemmas, and it provides a barometric measurement of how the trauma affects everyday people. This gathering is about galvanizing and engaging the people in being a part of the solution in eradicating domestic violence. It is about healing, organizing and engaging new allies in the plight against domestic violence,” Thicklin said. He expects the City Hall chambers to be filled.

Then on Saturday, October 18, he is hosting a “Faith Symposium on Domestic Violence,” from 9am – Noon at the Victory Tabernacle of Prayer, located at 163 W. 20th Street, Riviera Beach. The Faith Symposium will address the issue of domestic violence and the Faith Community’s response or lack of response to the issue. This symposium will look at the church’s historical silence on the issue of domestic violence and what steps are needed to emerge from the label of “Holy Hush.” This symposium will consist of a survivor’s panel that will share their stories and why they needed the Faith Community to speak for them and how they missed that opportunity,” said Thicklin. It will be critical for pastors, all clergy, as well as parishioners to attend.

On Sunday, October 19, Thicklin will be the speaker at the 10:30 PM services at the Kingdom Life Ministries, located at 520 N.W. 165th Street, Suite 105, Miami, Florida. His subject will be, “Domestic Violence – Not in This House!”

The remainder of the Domestic Violence Month Schedule for Destiny By Choice is as follows:

October 21 – National Faith Symposium- Orlando, Fl- Speaker/Presenter- “No Blame, No Shame: The Intergenerational Impact of Domestic Violence on Children”

October 22 – St. John Missionary Baptist Church – Boynton Beach 6:30 PM – Live Respect, Violent Free – Teen Dating Violence- Speaker/Presenter

October 24 – Celebration of Life, PB County Victim’s Services, Mounts Botanical Gardens, 10 AM – 12 PM – Presenter

October 26 – New Mt. Zion AME – Belle Glade 11:00 AM Service Speaker/Preacher- “Domestic Violence – Not In This House”

October 26- New Destiny Community Church, Pahokee – 5:00 PM – Youth Anniversary – “Turn Up For What” Speaker/Preacher

 For more information on these or other Domestic Violence issues, please contact 561-439-3145 or email: