On this day, seven years ago, I lost a great friend and one of the most beautiful, joyful people I've had the blessing of knowing to relationship violence. Yeardley was a year ahead of me at UVA and I still vividly remember her unique and infectious laugh, the way she lit up any room, and the feelings of excitement mixed with pinch-me-pride I had whenever we spent time together - it's the feeling that can only be understood by someone who befriends the cool, older girl in the sorority that also happens to be a star on the lacrosse team that also happens to be gorgeous, outgoing, and welcoming in every way. It's that "I'm so happy I'm friends with this person slash still can't believe I am" feeling and it was unjustly too short-lived, as it was replaced with the mind-blowing devastation of losing someone too special, too soon.
Yeardley's soul and memory live on with those who were lucky enough to know her and through the One Love Foundation, an organization working to put an end to relationship violence through its ongoing efforts to educate and empower campus communities. It has been nothing short of inspiring to watch One Love grow and succeed in mobilizing young adults to become more mindful and demanding of what is acceptable and healthy relationship behavior. I include myself as a data point in its impressive statistics, since I was unaware in 2010 of how commonplace and destructive relationship violence is and can be.
So today, I'm honoring Yeardley by participating in #OneLoveGivingDay and encourage you to do the same. There simply aren't enough Yeardleys in the world and we can't afford to lose them.