NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — The One Love Reggae Festival is scheduled in Newport News for Sept. 2.

The festival is meant to celebrate the love, diversity and unity inspired by the ideals and messages of reggae music. One Love is the largest annual reggae unity festival on the Hampton Roads Peninsula with 11 bands, two stages, over 45 venders, 18 local craft beers and variety of cuisines. The event will have shopping, healing workshops and art exhibits at Tradition Brewing Company from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Doors open a 10:30 a.m. The event is free and open to the public.

A portion of the proceeds from the event will be used to support Transitions Family Violence Services, a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating domestic violence since 1977.

“We believe in the power of music to bring people together and uplift spirits,” said Cory
Moreno, event liaison for Tradition Brewing Company of the One Love Reggae Festival. “But
we also recognize the importance of supporting those in need. Our partnership with Transitions
Family Violence Services allows us to extend our reach and contribute to a cause that aligns with
our values of unity and compassion.”

This unique alliance will create a safe space to raise money and awareness.

“For a long time, we worked really hard in the movement to dispel the myth that alcohol is the reason for domestic violence,” said Sanu Dieng, executive director at Transitions Family Violence Services. “This is an event that is going to show people you can have a good time and fellowship. Alcohol can be involved and there is no violence.”

Transitions family violence services provide emergency shelter and assistance on the Peninsula.

“All of us deserve the opportunity to start over the way that it works for us and not the way that someone tells us,” said Dieng. “The need is always increased funding. We did see some funding shifts at the State and Federal level. Partnering with local businesses is going to be really important.”

Since the pandemic, domestic violence shelters nationwide report high number of calls for help. Locally, the numbers are not going down. From January 2023-June 2023, Transitions Family Violence Services report 249 people indicated they had been strangled in Newport News. The city also recorded 364 high lethality calls. A lethality assessment determines: 1. he/she used a weapon or threatened use of a weapon, 2. he/she threatened to kill you or your children, 3. do you think he/she might try to kill you? If any of the answers are yes, it is considered a high lethality incident.

“It’s really important that we pivot our conversations,” Dieng said. “We can tell you the red flags, but I think we can show you that if this is what a kind loving respectful relationship looks like.”

Dieng said it is challenging for survivors to find an affordable rental or housing in the Hampton Roads market.

“We are in a housing crisis,” said Dieng. “Rent in our community is extremely high, and it does not match a the livable wage. If we’re not going to fix the housing crisis, we’re going to create an environment where people have no choice, but to stay in something that is unhealthy, abusive and potentially fatal.”

Check for the latest updates.

If you or you know someone who may be a victim of domestic violence or child abuse, click here for a list of local and national resources.