A Friday night meeting provided support and awareness -- but little candlelight -- for victims of domestic violence.
The candlelight vigil Friday evening for survivors of domestic violence was everything that the 12 women who attended it wanted it to be -- supportive and awareness-raising.
However, one thing was missing -- the candlelight.
No matter how close they squeezed up to city hall, Sixth and Massachusetts, an October wind refused to let the women's small, white candles glow.
Instead, the words of Langston Hughes that hung on City Hall, "We have tomorrow bright before us like a flame," were their inspiration as they continued their tribute to victims in an event that ended Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
"This is to honor women who are currently living and surviving in that situation," said Connie Burk, coordinator of the women's program at Women's Transitional Care Services, which sponsored the vigil. "And those women who did not escape and are no longer with us."
Burke said the event was also designed to bring awareness of domestic violence to the community.
In a quiet circle, several women stepped forward to share their feelings.
"As a survivor in this community, I really feel this is a great community," said Bekki McConnell-Cunningham. In tears, she added, "The shelter has been a great support for me and my children."
Seven years ago, McConnell-Cunningham came to WTCS seeking safety for her and her two children. Now, she is a WTCS employee, working as a shelter coordinator.
McConnell-Cunningham said events like the vigil and the Take Back the Night march in April broke the silence the community had in discussing domestic abuse.
"They need to realize that it's happening to their friends and neighbors and mothers," she said.