Monday, August 18, 2008

Candlelight vigil pays tribute to domestic violence victims

Posted by Hannah at 1:19 PM

Newsjournalonline has this article on domestic violence and the church:

Candlelight vigil pays tribute to domestic violence victims
Staff Writer
DAYTONA BEACH -- It took a man pumping bullets into his longtime girlfriend's body, the life draining out of her with their four children within earshot, to bring them together.

Something incredibly ugly turned into something beautiful Sunday night, as dozens of people decked out in dresses and suits and clutching flickering candles stood outside an aging red brick church, sending prayers into the overcast sky as it changed from gray to black.

Their songs and petitions echoed down Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard as they gathered beside New Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church to remember a woman killed two weeks ago, and all of those who have suffered similar abuse.

"Let women know they're better than a piece of meat to beat on," one local pastor told the crowd. "We can meet here all night long, but if our minds are not changed, nothing will happen."

"The only reason this continues is because we're silent," another pastor said.

"The violence needs to stop," the crowd chanted loudly, over and over and over.

The candlelight vigil was inspired by the slaying of 31-year-old Kyishi Dowdell, who police say was shot to death Aug. 4 by her ex-boyfriend, Craig Flynt.

Dowdell's life with the 37-year-old Flynt became riddled with abuse, and the tumultuous relationship ended when he chased her in the darkness and shot her to death in a neighbor's yard on Maley Street, police and family members have said. Flynt has been charged with first-degree murder.

VIDEO: --Daytona Police Chief talks about the murder
06 Aug 2008
While the final moments of thirty one year old Kyishi Dowdell's life were being decided 911 calls were pouring in. Frantic neighbors were watching from their windows as police say thirty-seven year old Craig Flynt fired several bullets into Dowdell, ending her life. "No there isn't anything she could've done," Daytona Police Chief Mike Chitwood said. "In hindsight, 20-20, I feel horrible that we couldn't make that arrest knowing I put a two day bounty on his head knowing I formed a posse consistently looking for the guy." Video states that some are calling for Sgt. Jimmie Flynt's resignation. He is Craig's father on the police department. The chief says he stands by Sgt. Flynt, that he wanted Craig arrested, and also says that there is no need for an internal investigation since the murder is being investigated outside of the police department...

The vigil was organized by the Daytona Beach Black Clergy Alliance, an ecumenical group of clergy dedicated to improving the quality of life of those in the African American community.

But one of those clergy members, the Rev. John Long, said he hoped the event raised awareness among those of every race and in every walk of life.

"It's an issue that crosses all the lines," said Long, pastor of Tubman-King Community Church in Daytona Beach and a victim of domestic violence himself. "It's a very complicated issue, but we can push for people to not be afraid to speak. Tell someone if you're a victim. Nobody deserves to be abused."

Long, who is pastor to Dowdell's father, was particularly passionate about the vigil. And he's still mourning the loss of the young mother.

"The viciousness of it. The closeness of it," Long said with a sigh. "Now four children lost their mother and their father."

Sophie Vessa, the Daytona Beach Police Department's victim advocate, said her heart breaks most for the children caught in the crossfire of domestic abuse.

"The long-term effects on children are devastating," said Vessa, who is also an abuse victim. "It's like living in a war zone. Post traumatic stress disorder is common. . . . But we as a community can help. Get the word out. The more we talk about it, the more we heal."

Daytona Beach has no shortage of domestic abuse cases. Of the 800 cases Vessa has handled since the beginning of the year, 500 involved domestic violence, she said.

"Ask the Lord to intervene, interrupt, to stop the violence, protect the weak, to speak to whatever excuse we give," Long said as he urged the group to lift their candles toward the stars. "Love does not batter, hit, cut, burn or pinch."

Prayers for those children, and also for others dealing with domestic violence and the church.

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Anonymous said...

Please visit to hear stories from past violence victims while working together to put an end to it

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