Tri-Citians gather to 'Take back the Night'

A bid for Tri-Citians to "Take back the Night" was the theme of a domestic violence rally Thursday afternoon in Richland.

The Washington State University Tri-Cities Women's Success Program sponsored the event, which included guest speakers, a march around John Dam Plaza, a Tree of Hope, a community resource fair and a clothesline full of cutouts that called for public awareness to stop the violence.

Domestic violence advocates Jennifer Dean-Hill and Jaime Contreras, director of student affairs at WSU Tri-Cities, were the guest speakers. Organizers said a few more than 100 people were in attendance.

The Tree of Hope is a metal sculpture donated to the program by a Kennewick police officer, said Tiffany Prince, one of the organizers. Anyone who knows of a domestic violence victim or who advocates awareness is welcome to tie a ribbon on the tree, she said.

October is domestic violence awareness month and Thursday's gathering was one of several events this month.

Next Thursday the Domestic Violence Services of Benton and Franklin Counties plans a candlelight vigil starting at 6:15 p.m., also at John Dam Plaza.

Guest speakers will be Superior Court Judge Carrie Runge and domestic violence survivor Julie Cooper. Tri-City singer Pamela Kinsey is the musical guest.

There will be 374 luminarias representing each victim that stayed in the shelter last year, along with 31 life-size silhouettes representing each domestic violence murder victim since 1998 in the Mid-Columbia.

For more information about domestic violence go online to dvsbf.org or check out the Women Success Program at tricity.wsu.edu/wsp.