On a day that Fresno’s domestic violence shelter honored local heroes for their work on the issue, former Miss America Kira Kazantsev told a Fresno audience that she was abused by her college boyfriend and it always stays with you.
Kazantsev, the 2015 Miss America, was the keynote speaker Friday at the Marjaree Mason Center’s 33rd annual Top Ten Professional Women and Leading Business Awards. She tearfully told of the abuse she suffered in college and the courage and support it took to break the cycle of violence. Finally, she turned her life around, she said, and used her experience to help domestic violence victims.
Kazantsev used her year as Miss America as a platform in her effort to raise awareness of the issue, ultimately creating the #PutTheNailInIt campaign that encourages people to paint the fingernail on their left ring finger purple as a symbol of the battle against domestic violence.
She toured the Marjaree Mason Center prior to her talk and praised the work that is done locally to end domestic violence. She thanked the women honored at Friday’s luncheon for being on the front line in fighting domestic violence.
33RD ANNUAL TOP TEN PROFESSIONAL WOMEN AND LEADING BUSINESS AWARDS HONOREES
Nada Barrett: assurance director, Moss Adams LLP
Francine Farber: past president, League of Women Voters of Fresno
Lori Hamada: executive director, AIMS Center for Math and Science Education
Jeanette Ishii: executive director, Insure America Project
Bernadette Muscat: criminology professor and interim associate dean for the College of Social Sciences at Fresno State
Caren Myers: vice president, Fresno Lexus
Lisa Smittcamp: district attorney, Fresno County
Linda Jean Voth: business teacher, Roosevelt High School
Marsha Vucovich: president/CEO, Fresno Equipment Company
Distinguished business: Facility Designs, owned by Kay Garabedian and Suzanne Byrnes.