by Desiree Lopez
Women who were killed by an intimate partner or family member in Texas and those who have survived domestic violence recently were honored and remembered during a Candlelight Vigil.
The event, with Women’s Protective Services of Lubbock playing host, was held on Oct. 2 at the Lubbock County Courthouse Gazebo.
The service began with a prayer and was followed by a recognition made by Shelia Patterson Harris, a member of the Lubbock City Council. She offered special recognition to the WPS of Lubbock Candlelight Vigil. Harris strongly encourages every citizen within the city of Lubbock to join WPS in the effort to actively address and eliminate family violence.
After the recognition, employees of WPS read the names of the victims of domestic violence and their county of residence.
The guest speaker, Irma Linda, ended the event with her success story of how she got out of an abusive family and how she turned her life around. Linda graduated from high school and college, then began her own loving family, despite her family’s past of domestic violence.
The Candlelight Vigil was organized by Steven Garcia, coordinator of community education, outreach, and legal for WPS. It is his job to conduct presentations, training, donation drives, and public appearances. He also oversees the assistance of clients with legal issues such as filing charges, divorces, custody, child support, and immigration.
“Women’s Protective Services is a nonprofit agency dedicated to the elimination and prevention of domestic violence,” explains Garcia. “WPS services Lubbock County and 11 surrounding counties by providing shelter, food, clothing, counseling, educational classes, assistance with employment and benefits, and advocacy to victims of domestic violence.”
WPS is funded by government programs such as the Victims of Crime Act and Violence Against Women Act. They receive state-level funding through the Office of the Attorney General and Health and Human Services. They also receive funding through the local level by grants and foundations. WPS is truly thankful for the additional funding they receive from private donations and fundraisers.
According to Garcia, there are various fund-raising events and donation drives held throughout the year designed to assist the families staying at WPS and to bring awareness to the public. To stay updated on upcoming events, visit http://www.wpslubbock.org.
The mission of WPS is to create an environment of empowerment for women, children, and families, and to eliminate family violence, according to Garcia. They hope to intervene in relationships where domestic violence is present and bring awareness to the public.
WPS specifically hopes to reach the entire population since, according to Garcia, one in three women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.
If you know someone who needs help, it is encouraged to become informed or lend a sympathetic ear. Do not blame the victim. Instead, guide them to community services, confront the victim with the danger, and help develop a safety plan.
If you are the one who needs help, you do not have to suffer alone.
“You are not alone in this,” explains Garcia. “It is not your fault, and you don’t deserve this. WPS can help you and your children.”
If you are a victim, do not hesitate to call WPS at (806)-747-6491.