By Erik Luna
In observance of Domestic Violence month students, teachers and community members marched down Avenida Cesar Chavez holding up signs and chanting.
Hand held signs reading “Your hands are not for hitting,” and “I’m not your punching bag,” appeared throughout the march.
The East Los Angeles Women’s Center has coordinated the Mujeres de Paz Candlelight Vigil event for the past 15 years.
As the march continued, Danza Azteca Xochipilli lead the way while cars honked in support of the demonstration.
Community member Elizabeth Garcia wore a shirt in honor of her sister who was killed by her ex-husband.
“Maybe if I were more aware of her situation and how I could have helped she would be walking with me right now in this march,” Garcia said.
The march ended at the Performing and Fine Arts Center courtyard. There participants were given a chance to speak about their experiences with domestic violence.
A temporary altar was placed in the middle of the courtyard dedicated to domestic violence victims.
Aquila Hernandez, East Los Angeles College cadet, spoke to the crowd after being inspired by their stories.
“I’ve gone on ride-along’s with the Sheriff’s and I’ve personally seen domestic violence in homes. I just wanted to say that if anyone ever needs help, the Sheriff’s station is always open and there will always be someone there to help you,” Hernandez said.
According to the executive director of ELAWC, Barbara Kappos, ELAC is an important part of the demonstration.
“It brings the young adults together and they are the future of stopping domestic violence,” Kappos said. “As we pass the baton, so to speak, they will be in charge of making a difference and making sure that domestic violence stops,” she said.
According to Kappos one out of five women will be the victims of sexual assault during her college years.
“These are staggering statistics… So, we’re here to stand up to domestic violence,” Kappos said.
“Domestic violence happens everywhere… people should know about it and should do something about it, because a lot of times these cases don’t get solved,” Elan Victoria Gomez said.
Information tables were set up in front of the P2 building with pamphlets and business cards for those in seek of help.
“The testimonials aren’t planned, we ask people to come forward, but we don’t know who will come forward. I think that’s the strength of this event,” Kappos said.
“We can only end domestic violence together as a community,” she said.