Peace House candlelight vigil honors domestic violence victims
What: Peace House Candlelight Vigil
When: 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 23
Where: Temple Har Shalom, 3700 Brookside Ct.
The Utah Domestic Violence Coalition recorded 22 domestic violence-related homicides over the past year, and this year’s Peace House Candlelight Vigil will honor each victim, says Leisa Mukai, Peace House director of prevention and education.
The event, which is free and open to the public, will start at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 23, at Temple Har Shalom, 3700 Brookside Ct., she said.
“The victims list includes a four-month-old, several children, teens, young adults and several elders,” Mukai said.
In addition, the list will acknowledge two University of Utah students who died to domestic violence — Lauren McCluskey and MacKenzie Lueck.
McCluskey was shot and killed outside of her dorm building by her former boyfriend a few days after last year’s candlelight vigil, and a Salt Lake City man was charged with the murder of Lueck this summer.
“What struck me with the list was there was not one age group or particular demographic that was singled out,” she said. “It showed the nature of domestic violence goes across the board.”
The victims’ profiles will be read by a number of diverse community members from Summit and Wasatch counties, according to Mukai.
The readers will include mayors, police chiefs, victims’ advocates, teens and domestic violence survivors, she said.
“There is a lot of support in our community, and that’s encouraging to me,” Mukai said.
Mukai is grateful to Temple Har Shalom who offered to host the event this year, not because of its hall, but also because of the Jewish tradition of kaddish, a prayer that acknowledges loss and grief.
To highlight the kaddish, instead of live music, Peace House will play a recording of Maurice Ravel’s “The Mourner’s Kaddish,” which he was commissioned to compose in 1914 by soprano Alvina Alvi of the St. Petersburg Opera.
After the service, attendees will enjoy light refreshments and the opportunity to examine “Missing from the Table,” a visual exhibit of the impact of lives lost to domestic violence.
The installation is a collaboration with Peace House, Summit County and Wasatch counties domestic violence coalitions, and it will feature a dinner table settings that will represent lives that were lost, according to Mukai.
Peace House will also have domestic-violence prevention resources on hand throughout the evening.
While the candlelight vigil raises awareness of domestic violence, it also helps heal emotional wounds the Peace House staff develop while working with victims, Mukai said.
“Every year I’m struck with just how complicated each case is,” she said. “People don’t enter relationships ever expecting their outcome will be their death, but abuse can happen in any situation where humans collaborate where a person tries to exert power and control over another.
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