Osceola County witnessed a powerful show of solidarity and support for survivors of domestic violence Thursday night at Help Now’s 14th Annual Domestic Violence Awareness Walk and Candlelight Vigil, held on the steps of the Osceola County Courthouse. Led by Help Now’s Executive Director, Tammy Douglass, the event brought together community leaders, law enforcement officials, and advocates to emphasize the importance of standing against domestic violence and supporting those affected by it.
The event garnered immense support from various sectors of the community, highlighting the urgency and significance of addressing domestic violence. Among the speakers were notable figures who have dedicated themselves to promoting awareness and providing resources for survivors.
Osceola County DV Task Force Co-Chair Carmen Vargas shared her insights on the critical role of collaborative efforts in combating domestic violence. Her words underscored the importance of community involvement and cooperation in creating a safe environment for individuals affected by such trauma.
Kissimmee Police Chief Betty Holland and St. Cloud Police Chief Doug Goerke reiterated their departments’ commitment to providing unwavering support to survivors and ensuring that law enforcement actively works to prevent and address instances of domestic violence within the community.
Osceola Clerk of Court and Comptroller Kelvin Soto highlighted the importance of accessible resources and support systems for survivors within the legal framework. His perspective shed light on the pivotal role of administrative entities in facilitating the process of seeking justice and assistance for those affected by domestic violence.
Florida State Attorney Andrew Bain emphasized the significance of legal protection and enforcement in ensuring the safety and security of domestic violence survivors. His presence highlighted the crucial role of the legal system in providing justice and safeguarding the rights of victims.
Help Now Board Member Bethzaida Garcia shared her experience with domestic violence and her journey as a survivor along with insights into the transformative impact of community-based support for survivors. Her words emphasized the significance of compassion and empathy in creating a safe and nurturing environment for those on the path to recovery.
Help Now staff member Christina Montalvo, whose sister Nicole was killed by her estranged husband and father-in-law in St. Cloud in 201,9 reflected on her tragic experience and journey toward advocating for others during the candlelight vigil. Montalvohas turned her grief into passionate advocacy for others dealing with domestic violence or a coping with the challenges of being a survivor of DV.
The event also received spiritual guidance and support from Pastor Luis De Jesus Ginestre, whose words of encouragement and solace served as a reminder of the importance of emotional healing and spiritual well-being in the journey toward recovery.
The 14th Annual Domestic Violence Awareness Walk and Candlelight Vigil concluded with a reverent walk from the county courthouse to the streets of Downtown Kissimmee followed by a time of reflection and hope on the from lawn of the Kissimmee Police Department where the glow of candles served as a poignant reminder of the resilience and hope that permeate the lives of survivors and those dedicated to their well-being.
In the wake of the Domestic Violence Awareness Walk and Candlelight Vigil, the community of Osceola County stands united in its determination to provide unwavering support, resources, and awareness in the fight against domestic violence, ensuring that no one has to endure such trauma alone. Help Now’s mission of creating a safer and more compassionate community for all remains resolute and unwavering.
If you, or someone you know, are in danger due to domestic violence, for immediate assistance, please dial 911. If you are in immediate need or wish to speak with a domestic violence counselor or advocate, please call Help Now’s 24-hour crisis hotline at (407) 847-8562 or text them at (321) 306-0677.