Advocates-Crisis Support Services hosts candlelight vigil in Craig
October 6, 2011
It was the typical scene Wednesday night on Victory Way — cars and trucks headed westbound, carrying home commuters or drivers on a long trip just passing through.
Then, the crowd appeared, a group of about 30 people moving down the street together. All carried small, flickering lights. All wore purple ribbons.
At the back of the procession, two young men held a banner.
It read, "There's No Excuse for Abuse."
They were a noticeable group, breaking the rhythm of the familiar and the predictable.
And, that was the point.
The candlelight walk and vigil put on by Advocates-Crisis Support Services was designed to draw attention, raise awareness and recognize those who have survived and lost their lives to domestic violence.
Shane Thomas, of Craig, was a participant in the event, which coincides with Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
"I think it's one of those issues that isn't on everybody's mind, so actually coming out here … kind of brings it to the front of everybody's minds so that the issue can be resolved," he said.
The group made its way from Craig City Park down Victory Way to the Moffat County Courthouse where, one at a time, the walkers placed their flickering lights at the base of a podium set up on the lawn.
Randy Saucedo, of Denver, was the keynote speaker of the event. He's the executive director of Survivors Against Violence Everywhere, also known as SAVE, a Colorado organization based in Lakewood.
He also created survivor empathy panels across the state, in which survivors of domestic violence speak about their experiences in a forum. Perpetrators of domestic violence who have been convicted and sentenced to probation pay to attend this forum, which is designed to teach them empathy and help fulfill the terms and conditions of their probation, Saucedo said.
His advocacy for victims of domestic violence springs from a harrowing time in his life.
In the early morning of Feb. 15, 1980, his mother was killed in an act of domestic violence by her ex-boyfriend, he said. Saucedo was shot and almost killed in the same attack.
"All of those terrible things that happened to me that morning — watching my mother die in front of me, watching her and hearing her say her last words, hearing the other persons in our home who were also being assaulted, nearly killed — certainly as a survivor I hear those voices," he said. "I can still smell the gunpowder some days.
"But, all of that ended when I became a survivor. As a survivor, you remember the pain but you also remember the joy of being with those ones who have left this world far too early."
As the rally neared its close, Jeana Womble sang "Independence Day." Many of the marchers were sitting, but a few stood, swaying gently in time to the music. They came from different lives and different generations, but that didn't seem to matter.
Traffic streamed by. Mufflers coughed, the occasional car honked.
And, as dusk fell, the small collection of flickering lights seemed to grow brighter.
Survivors of domestic never forget, Saucedo said, "but certainly, we can always forgive."