Laura Finley earned her Ph.D. from Western Michigan University in 2002. She is currently Associate Professor of Sociology & Criminology at Barry University. Dr. Finley is the author, co-author or editor of 19 books, numerous book chapters and journal articles, and is a syndicated columnist with PeaceVoice and New Clear Vision. She is also a regular presenter at local, state, and national conferences. Additionally, Dr. Finley is Chair of the Board of Directors of No More Tears, Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of the Peace and Justice Studies Association, and a board member of The Humanity Project and Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. Dr. Finley is also co-founder and organizer of the College Brides Walk, a dating and domestic violence-awareness initiative.
I love Miami! Growing up in the Midwest, I never quite felt like I fit in. I think I fit here. I love the diversity of the people and the wealth of opportunities we enjoy here, including the arts, outdoors activities, sports and more. But, like any big city, there is room for improvement. I want to see Miami become even better, with people truly connected to and supporting one another.
I have worked on a number of human rights and social justice issues, but one constant is my efforts to end domestic and dating violence. These are huge problems not just in Miami but globally, with an estimated one-third of the world’s women enduring an abusive relationship. Since I work on a college campus, I am acutely aware that college-aged students are particularly vulnerable to abuse. In organizing the annual College Brides Walk, I am helping raise awareness that can prevent abuse, and in working with No More Tears, I help victims obtain safety and heal such that they can live happier, healthier lives.
One of the most important elements of ending abuse is simply to talk about it. Domestic violence thrives in silence. Despite decades of attention to these issues, there remain many myths and misconceptions that need to be addressed, which is one of the primary goals of the College Brides Walk. Additionally, it is imperative that people work together to prevent abuse and to respond to it when it occurs. A community approach helps ensure that people are empowered to speak up if they see or hear abuse, and that victims receive the many different types of support they need so they do not have to return to their abusers. Both No More Tears and the College Brides Walk take this grassroots approach, utilizing a community of volunteers to effect social change.