Oregon State Capitol – Salem, Oregon
City of Peace



Hands & Words Are Not For Hurting Project®
501 (c) (3) Nonprofit Education Organization
Located in Salem, Oregon, founded in 1997

An Effective Tool in Abuse, Violence, & Suicide Prevention Education


It is our dream that our PURPLE HANDS, symbols of HOPE and of a UNITED STAND not to use or tolerate abuse and violence, will someday outnumber the countless victims who have suffered and died as a result of abuse, violence, and suicide.


the Purple HAND/Red HEART being a worldwide symbol of peace


opportunities for everyone to take the
Purple Hands Pledge®


we can create a world free of
abuse, violence, & suicide

This project is designed to work in partnership with ALL abuse, violence, suicide, bully prevention, conflict resolution, and character-building skills programs. Our Purple Hands together with the Hands & Words Are Not For Hurting Pledge are the visual and verbal reminders that reinforce a personal commitment to nonviolence.

The Color Purple is our National Color used to Honor & Remember Victims & Survivors of Abuse, Violence, & Suicide 



This project began in February of 1997 with the participation of the Salem-Keizer Public Schools in Salem, Oregon. The initial vision was to demonstrate visually that we are making a difference in stopping abuse, violence, and suicide.

The Purple Hands Pledges represented our efforts to educate Oregon’s children and adults about abuse, violence, & suicide and what each one of us can do to stop violence in our own lives and the world.

In just seven weeks, over 11,000 students (K-12) and staff submitted their Purple Hand Pledges® for display at the 3rd Annual Domestic Violence Conference for Professionals held at the Elsinore Theatre in Salem, Oregon on April 24 & 25, 1997.

Due to the overwhelmingly positive response, it was clear that we must pursue this endeavor. A handful of dedicated people formed what is now Hands & Words Are Not For Hurting Project®. Although the Project started with the Salem-Keizer Public Schools, it has expanded to other schools and communities throughout the entire 50 states and 28 foreign countries.

In addition to reaching schools & homes, the Hands & Words Are Not For Hurting Project® has expanded to include daycare facilities, birthing centers, places of worship, youth organizations, government agencies, public officials, law enforcement, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, battered women’s shelters, batterer treatment programs, businesses, mental health counseling services, child abuse assessment/treatment centers, and hospitals/ healthcare facilities.
The Purple Hands Pledge® is for everyone!

Former Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber MD the first parent to sign a Newborn Pledge Certificate for his son, in an official ceremony at the Oregon State Capital December 29th, 1997.



Pictured above: Ann S. Kelly, Founder/Director & Robert R. Kelly MD.


About the Author of the Purple Hands Pledge® and Creator of Hands & Words Are Not For Hurting Project®:

Ann S. Kelly, Founder, and Executive Director –
Martial Artist/Self-Defense Specialist, Sandan (Black Belt), Owner of Safe & Sound Self-Defense Education, Founding Member and past Chair – Domestic Violence Education & Prevention Coalition of Salem. Married 56 years to her husband Bob, together raised three sons and have six grandchildren.

Ann’s inspiration for writing the Purple Hands Pledge® and creating the Purple Hand/Red Heart logo comes from a lifetime of varied experiences. A martial artist and self-defense specialist teaching classes in self-protection, she saw that abuse, violence, and suicide were escalating, particularly in children.

Ann and her husband Bob, an Emergency Physician, worked routinely with victims and survivors of abuse and violence and wanted to do more in the area of abuse, violence, & suicide prevention education.

It is their belief that Education is the light in the darkness and the voice that breaks the silence.