Wed, Jul 27|
Meeting ID 880 3050 1552 Passcode: NWBC2020
Andrea Conte - Behind the Scenes Look at the Children's Memory Garden of Nashville
The Garden, only one of two in the United States, is a community effort incorporating both grassroots and social policy components.
Time & Location
Jul 27, 2022, 7:00 AM – 8:30 AM
Meeting ID 880 3050 1552 Passcode: NWBC2020
About the event
The physical garden is currently under major renovation in Centennial Park, scheduled for completion in the Fall. The Garden, only one of two in the United States, is a community effort incorporating both grassroots and social policy components. The concept of a Garden was inspired by a six-year-old boy who heard news reports of children being lost to violence. This boy asked his dad how he could help the families feel better, and his father, a landscaper, immediately thought of a Garden. The Garden’s impact goes far beyond the physical design.
Andrea Conte's bio:
Andrea Conte began her life in Massachusetts. As a newly minted registered nurse, she started a career caring for others as a visiting home nurse. Fortunately for Tennessee, her road did not stop there. She found her way here to work for HCA. That was just the beginning of a story that would endear her to and positively impact the citizens of Tennessee for years to come. In 1993, with her husband, Phil Bredesen, serving as Nashville Mayor, Ms. Conte made a personal commitment to change how victims were treated. She launched and continues to lead a nonprofit agency called You Have the Power (YHTP)…Know How to Use It. The first agency in Tennessee to give a voice to the needs of crime victims.
YHTP continues to serve communities and victims of crime through information, advocacy, and understanding. All programs and presentations take the lead from survivors on how crime happens, how to prevent it, and what people should do if they become victims. In addition, YHTP also works with incarcerated offenders and parolees to help them understand the cause and impact of their actions and future choices.
Ms. Conte's work for victims went well beyond her work as First Lady and founder of YHTP. In 1998, Andrea decided that Tennessee needed to adopt a Victims' Bill of Rights. She met with district attorneys and legislators across the state to educate them on the bill's importance. The bill passed resoundingly, impacting victims for generations.
Her dedication to walking is well known to almost everyone. A THP officer relates that her walks in the pre-dawn hours, rain or cold, were used to break in new officers. However, despite her five-foot stature, the well-trained officers often had difficulty keeping up with her. In fact, upon returning from at least one such walk, she had to call the head of security to apologize, as she had lost her detail.
After founding the first Child Advocacy Center (now called the Nashville Children’s Alliance) in Nashville, she turned that determination into a unique project as First Lady. Her goal was to have at least one Child Advocacy Center in every judicial district. In 2004, Ms. Conte solidified that goal by walking across the entire state in support of Child Advocacy Centers. Ms. Conte's 605-mile walk across all 95 counties helped spotlight the importance and need for child advocacy centers. As a result, Tennessee has over 45 child advocacy centers and a statewide data collection system for child victims of sexual assault and severe physical abuse. One significant event not addressed here is the kidnapping and assault of Andrea. It is here at the end of this essay. Andrea has accomplished much. She chooses the man who had her fight for her life be a side note in her story. Not a significant player.
In December 1988, a man was waiting for Ms. Conte as she pulled into her parking place at her cookware store and tried to force her into his car. Ms. Conte held onto the wheel of her car for her life as he beat her in the head with his gun (breaking the handle), strangled her, and finally broke the bones in her
hands until she could not hold on any longer. As he pulled her into his car, Ms. Conte continued to fight again; he overpowered her, pushed her to the car floor, and broke her eye socket with a blow from his elbow.
When the man began to drive off with her, Ms. Conte attempted to open her door, but the handle was duct-taped shut. Determined to survive, Ms. Conte bravely grabbed the car keys out of the ignition, maneuvered her way into the backseat, and threw herself out of the moving car and onto the road. Her attacker fled and was not captured until months after killing another young woman sitting in a park eading her Bible.