The city will start a fund in memory of Anako “Annette” Lumumba following the first of two Domestic Violence Community Forums on Oct. 10. That fund will help South Burlington residents obtain the finances they need to leave abusive homes.

In May 2018, community member Lumumba was killed by her partner, Leroy Headley, in an act of domestic violence. Ever since, many in the South Burlington community have asked what can be done to help other victims. At the community forum, City Manager Kevin Dorn and Steps to End Domestic Violence Executive Director Dawn Ferringo offered aid.

“I’m pleased to announce ... the formation of a fund in Annette’s honor that will continuously help to support people in need, people who are affected by domestic violence,” Dorn said. “And help us move toward measures that will move culture in a way that will address this terrible situation.”

The fund will be coordinated by Steps, leveraging the organization’s expertise around domestic violence. According to Dorn, individuals can contribute to the fund by writing a check to Steps, with “The Annette Fund” noted on the memo line. Those checks can be brought or mailed to the Steps office or brought to the city, which can deliver them to Steps, Dorn said.

“We look forward to helping survivors make a difference in their life, and to help change the narrative a little bit in Chittenden County,” Ferringo said. “[Domestic violence] is a public health issue and until we start addressing it that way, we’re not going to make the changes that we really need to make.”

According to Dorn, city councilors may vote to donate money from South Burlington’s coffers to the fund. Those dollars would likely come from the Social Services component of the city budget, he said.

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