It was a beautiful day for an unveiling of the Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Assault courtyard located at #2 Courthouse Square in Kingstree. In February, an open house and ribbon cutting celebrated the new office space in a historic building next to the Williamsburg County Courthouse. What was a dark, weed-filled alleyway is now a serene courtyard that includes a mural, fountain and benches, made possible through Preserving a Legacy of Peace & Justice campaign.
The outdoor space provides an uplifting place for those who have been victimized by domestic violence. The two-story mural was painted by Pee Dee Coalition volunteer and muralist Holly Powell, Clarendon County artist Jessie Welch and local artist Darice Wilson. The sprawling tree has branches painted with words by women of the Coalition that evoke the organization’s principals. At the bottom are the words, “Where love is planted, beautiful things grow.” Plans are to invite local students to add their artistic touch to each side of the mural.
Also unveiled during the celebration was a painting by local artist Ellen Bass. It is a rendering of the front façade of the historic building and will hang inside the office. A framed print of her painting was presented to Powell for her support and diligence throughout the project.
Senator Ronnie Sabb and Representative Cezar McKnight provided remarks. “This is a Class A operation,” said Senator Sabb of the non-profit, volunteer organization. “It is second to none in the state of South Carolina.” McKnight, who personally knows six victims of abuse said there is no more fitting testimony to what was seen today. ”I say to you all, your efforts are not wasted. You’re not Don Quixote charging a windmill on a hopeless cause,” said McKnight. “There are people that need you. There are lives that depend on you. And God willing, you’re going to save some of those lives.”
Pee Dee Coalition was organized in 1986 in South Carolina and serves as the rape crisis and family violence center for Florence, Darlington, Marion, Chesterfield, Marlboro, Dillon and Williamsburg counties. The organization recently added services for Sexual Assault in Clarendon County.
Pee Dee Coalition is there to help. If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic violence, please call the 24-hour crisis hotline at: (843) 669-4600 or toll-free at (800) 273-1820.