Vigil honors domestic violence victims

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 31, 2004

SABRA Sanctuary ended the first day of its annual Symposium on Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Thursday evening with a candlelight vigil honoring victims of domestic violence.

Nearly 100 people gathered on the outside patio of the St. James Hotel overlooking the Alabama River to light a candle and sing together “This Little Light of Mine.”

The special significance of the event was punctuated every few seconds by the ringing of a bell, signifying that someone was being abused.

Email newsletter signup

“Every five seconds someone is abused,” said Nancy Travis, SABRA Executive Director. “This is represented by the ringing of the bell throughout the program.”

Before the lighting of the candles, participants heard from guest speaker and domestic violence survivor Mildred Holmes.

“It’s really easy to tell someone to turn lemons into lemonade, but how are they going to do that?,” Holmes said. “You have to improve yourself and make yourself better. That’s what I call turning lemons into lemonade.”

Holmes added that improvement comes through education and asking the right people for help.

“If you need help, go to someone who will say ‘you are special’,” Holmes said. “Violence breeds violence. Somehow we have to break the cycle and help each other stop the violence.”

Travis said the symposium, which took place at the St. James, consisted of various guest speakers throughout the day, including a brief visit by Alabama Attorney General Troy King.

“Domestic violence is a serious problem in the Black Belt,” said District Attorney-elect Michael Jackson. “I plan to crack down on that, along with child molestation.”

There were two more speakers scheduled for Friday before the symposium came to an end.