LOS ANGELES—On Wednesday, the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) joined Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Peace Over Violence, local leadership, survivors, and advocates at the 20th annual Denim Day press conference and rally to raise awareness around sexual violence.
As part of a continuing effort throughout Sexual Assault Awareness Month, AHLA is an official sponsor of Peace Over Violence’s Denim Day activities on April 24, joining millions of individuals in wearing jeans for the purpose of supporting survivors and educating others about all forms of sexual violence. AHLA’s donation will allow Peace Over Violence to continue to lead and expand critical violence prevention education campaigns throughout the Los Angeles metro area.
“AHLA is proud to partner with Mayor Garcetti and Peace Over Violence to further our shared commitment of supporting victims, educating the public, and ending sexual violence,” said Chip Rogers, AHLA president and CEO. “The hotel industry is committed to working alongside our national partners, such as Peace Over Violence, to continue to build on our work to support survivors and help end sexual violence.”
“Domestic violence touches every gender, age, zip code, and race—and it has no place in our society,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Denim Day is a call to action, but we must act every day to end the scourge of sexual assault and harassment wherever it exists. With partners like AHLA and Peace Over Violence, Los Angeles will always stand with survivors and ensure that they know: they are never alone.”
“It pains me that in 2019 we still have to remind the public that sexual assault and sexual violence is a real issue in this country. But I do think we are making strides in calling attention to it. What was once something we kept quiet and whispered about behind closed doors, is now something that we as a society are becoming more comfortable speaking about and calling out those responsible,” said Councilwoman Nury Martinez. “Over the last year and a half, we saw the spotlight finally shining on one powerful man after another. Men who had used their positions of power and authority and manipulated women and young girls, sexually harassed or assaulted them. This is what we need to talk about. This is the conversation we need to have.”
“We are incredibly excited to have the American Hotel & Lodging Association as a partner for Denim Day and we celebrate how the campaign continues to grow: how grassroots goes global, awareness is created and perspectives shift, and how healing happens with direct services,” said Patti Giggans, executive director of Peace Over Violence and founder of Denim Day. “Together, our impact becomes even more profound and we continue to raise awareness, dispelling myths about sexual violence, harassment, assault, and rape.”
In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month this April, AHLA launched a month-long campaign along with member companies and national partners to raise public awareness about sexual assault and reaffirm the hotel industry’s commitment to providing a safe and welcoming environment for all employees and guests. On April 2, AHLA’s 2019 Board of Directors launched this campaign by uniting against sexual violence with an open letter in The Wall Street Journal and by wearing jeans as part of a social media movement ahead of Peace Over Violence’s Denim Day on April 24.
In addition, AHLA provided a Sexual Assault Awareness Month resource toolkit to all its members to help raise awareness and encourage member engagement by utilizing a variety of national resources and Sexual Assault Awareness Month collateral, including educational table tents for member properties and pins to be worn throughout the month.
All of this activity builds on the ongoing efforts of AHLA and the hotel industry, which include its announcement last year of the 5-Star Promise, which is a pledge to provide hotel employees across the U.S. with employee safety devices (ESDs) and commit to enhanced policies, trainings, and resources that together are aimed at enhancing hotel safety, including preventing, and responding to sexual harassment and assault.
AHLA and the hotel industry is building on training and policies around other safety and security issues, including Human Trafficking, and working to accomplish this by broadening partnerships with wide-ranging national organizations that target sexual violence, sexual assault, and trafficking and promote workplace safety, including the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, DC Rape Crisis Center, National Domestic Violence Hotline, Peace Over Violence, RALIANCE, RAINN, ECPAT USA, Polaris and BEST, and continue providing industry-wide training and materials development.