Supporting Women in Crisis 1

Women’s Resource Center Sets Fundraisers Featuring Actor Ed Harris

Organizers with the Women’s Resource Center and Evans Theatres, along with several other local individuals and groups, have joined forces to host a weeklong film festival and associated events Oct. 31 to Nov. 5 featuring well-known actor and WRC supporter Ed Harris.

Proceeds will benefit the Women’s Resource Center, a United Way agency in Norman established in 1975 to assist individuals who have experienced violence in Cleveland County seeking a way to not only escape the cycle, but to grow and thrive in the community. WRC offers specialized services catering to those who have suffered from domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. They provide emergency shelter, a rape crisis center, counseling groups and education outreach.

The Women’s Resource Center is always looking for dedicated individuals to volunteer, and provides the proper training. They are also in need of basic living supplies, including food and clothing, but also many items you might not think about. Some examples include gas and grocery cards, journals and cleaning products. For a complete list of the most needed items, visit WRCNormanok.org/ongoing-needs/

“Sadly, the demand for our services remains high, and funding is always a challenge,” states Mary Backus, immediate past president of the center’s Board of Directors and University of Oklahoma professor of law.

In addition to raising money for their organization, it is hoped the week’s events will heighten awareness and stimulate action for those escaping abusive relationships.

“We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Ed Harris back to Norman, and are thrilled that he will help us draw attention and raise funds to support the critical work we do for those on our community impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault,” says Backus.

We recently visited with Backus about these events and how Ed Harris became involved with WRC. Her responses follow.

How did Ed Harris become involved in your organization or vice versa?

Ed has been a contributor to the WRC for many years.  I personally reached out to him and asked him if he would come to Norman and host a fundraising dinner, and he called me at home and was very enthusiastic. He has been incredibly gracious and eager to help. He told me that, “The Women’s Resource Center is an invaluable asset to the Cleveland County community. I’ve been a supporter ever since I learned of its existence and the great work they do there. The shelter, support and services for those who have been abused or sexually assaulted and are seeking shelter, have saved countless lives and given women second chances.”

Could you please describe the associated events?

The weeklong film festival will feature five films selected by Ed himself. Individual tickets are available for purchase for each of the films (check out Evan’s Theatres at EvansTheatres.com for dates, times and ticket price).

The special showing of Pollock, at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 4, followed by the Q&A with Ed, is a separate event, and tickets for that are $40 with the proceeds going to the WRC.

The other big event is the dinner hosted by Harris at the Sam Noble Museum on Saturday, Nov. 5. Tickets for that are $100 and can be purchased on the WRC website.

How will the proceeds from the events be used to 
benefit WRC?

The proceeds will be used to support all of the WRC’s programs:  the domestic violence shelter, the rape crisis center, and our counseling and education programs.

What other organizations are involved with 
these events?

We have a number of sponsors who are providing support for the event, both in-kind and financial:

Benvenuti’s Catering, Cleveland Country Lifestyle Magazine, local artist Tammy Conover, Crimson and Cream,  Evans Theatres (hosting the film festival and the Pollock Q&A event with Ed), Chris Freihofer at the Actor Factory, Realtor Barry Hurley, OMS Technologies, the Helmerich School of Drama at OU, and Women’s Healthcare of Norman.