A purple glow filled the Paul Poag Theatre Tuesday during a candlelight vigil to remember victims of domestic violence.
During the eighth annual ceremony, 136 small lights were illuminated representing each victim who died from an act of domestic violence in Texas throughout the past year.
BCFS Health and Human Services hosted the the vigil, which included speeches about prevention and song and dance numbers performed by the city’s youth. Purple lights and ribbons were used to signal the official color of the National Domestic Violence Awareness Project.
BCFS welcomed keynote speaker Marissa Cano, an advocate for domestic violence victims and a self-identified victim of domestic violence. Cano holds a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from the University of Texas and serves as co-chair for the Rio Grande Valley Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force and the Hidalgo County Family Violence Task Force.
“Domestic violence is repugnant and inexcusable,” Cano said. “Each of us can and must work together to identify, report and prevent violence so perpetrators know they have nowhere to hide.”
During her speech, Cano emphasized the unreported incidents of domestic violence committed by women and encouraged male victims to report their abusers.
“There’s always this misunderstanding that domestic violence only happens to women. There are so many men being abused on a daily basis as well,” Cano said. “There has to be a mutual respect that happens in a household.”
Cano also spoke about how the cycle of domestic violence produces both victims and perpetrators for future generations.
“If you are living in a household where you are being abused on a daily basis, (your children) are going to grow up thinking that’s the norm and it’s ok to happen.”
Before the ceremony, Mayor Bruno “Ralphy” Lozano signed a proclamation recognizing October as Domestic Violence Awareness month.
“(I) urge all citizens to actively participate in the scheduled activities and programs sponsored by the various partners and collaborators in the City of Del Rio to work toward the elimination of personal and institutional violence against domestic violence victims and their children,” Lozano said.
The Elementary District Choir, comprised of students from Garfield, Lamar and Buena Vista elementary schools, sang two songs during the ceremony and the Del Rio High School Dance Company perform choreography tailored to the occasion.