This evening, the greater New Bedford Women’s Center held a candlelight vigil here in downtown New Bedford to honor victims of domestic violence. Over a hundred people gathered in front of city hall, where mayor Frederick Kalisz and other New Bedford political figures spoke briefly. People took candles and walked from there to our church for an hour-long program arranged by The Women’s Center.

Local singer-songwriter Susan Lainey sang a couple of original songs, Pamela Macleod-Lima of the Women’s Center spoke about domestic violecne, and there was a moving tribute for all those who died of domestic violence this year in Massachusetts. For me, the most moving moment came when Mike Santos talked about his three year old grandson who died of domestic violence.

The Women’s Center had this statement in the printed program: “Each year, thousands of men, women, and children in this country fall victim to domestic violence. While the U. S. Department of Justice estimates that more than 90% of all domestic violence victims are female, domestic violence affects men, women, and children regardless of age, race, ethnic background, sexual orientation, income, or religious beliefs.” If you or someone you know is living in domestic violence in the greater New Bedford area, call The Women’s Center’s business phone at 508-996-3343 to get information about safety planning — or call their 24 hour helpline at 508-996-6636 if you witness domestic violence. If you’re outside the New Bedford area, find out about local hotlines and helplines in your area now, before you need to know — or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.

I wish you could have a better sense of what it felt like to be a part of this moving program. Unfortunately, it looks like news coverage will be light. There was one cameraman from Fox News in Providence; there may have been a reporter from the local newspaper (though I wasn’t aware of one)