Washington DC— U.S. Representative Mike Levin (D-CA) announced on Tuesday that Oceanside resident Colleen O’Harra, co-founder of the Oceanside Women’s Resource Center and a former member of the Oceanside City Council, is his Constituent of the Month for July. Mrs. O’Harra is the former Executive Director of the Women’s Resource Center, a non-profit dedicated to providing support services, counseling, education, and shelter to North County San Diego women, children and men involved in, or threatened by, domestic violence or sexual assault.
“Colleen and her team realized the need for a domestic violence and sexual assault crisis center in North County, creating a truly life-changing place of hope for local families,” said Representative Levin. “I am proud to represent a community that stands up for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, and I am deeply grateful for Mrs. O’Harra’s service.”
Earlier this year, Representative Levin launched a Constituent of the Month program to recognize outstanding North County San Diego and South Orange County Residents who have gone above and beyond to help their neighbors, give back to their community, and make the country stronger. Levin’s Constituents of the Month for May was Evan Marks, of San Juan Capistrano. Levin’s Constituent of the Month for June was Barbara Mannino, of Vista.
Representative Levin submitted the following statement into the Congressional Record:
Madam Speaker, I am honored to recognize Mrs. Colleen O’Harra, the co-founder of the Oceanside Women’s Resource Center and a former member of the Oceanside City Council, as my Constituent of the Month for July. For 45 years, Colleen and her team have been serving survivors of domestic violence and their children at the Women’s Resource Center, working tirelessly to ensure that community members receive the services and support they need to recover.
The Women’s Resource Center opened during a time when there was limited to no services available for domestic abuse victims, becoming the only facility of its kind aiding North County San Diego families. Under Colleen’s trailblazing leadership, the Women’s Resource Center grew from an “underground” network where domestic abuse survivors received short-term assistance in private homes, to a 31-bed shelter providing long-term housing, support, and resources to survivors.
Colleen’s work is imperative as we address the epidemic of violence against women that plagues our country. Each year, approximately 12 million adults and over 15 million children are exposed to domestic violence. These alarming figures tell us that we must do more at the local, state, and federal level to empower survivors and raise community awareness, ensuring that domestic violence and sexual assault are neither tolerated nor accepted in our communities. In April, the House of Representatives passed the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019 (VAWA) with bipartisan support to prevent domestic violence and ensure survivors have resources to recover and seek justice. Today, I urge my colleagues in the U.S. Senate to help end the cycle of domestic violence and reauthorize the VAWA.
I launched a Constituent of the Month program to recognize residents of the 49th District who have gone above and beyond to support our neighbors and make our community stronger. After 45 years of providing critical support services and shelter to survivors in our community, we owe Colleen a debt of gratitude, and I am proud to recognize her as the Constituent of the Month.