HOPE to light up Morton Park

Mackenzie Freund, City Editor

Candles will light up Morton Park Thursday night while the Housing Outreach Prevention and Education of East Central Illinois puts on its annual candlelight vigil.

The vigil honors those who have lost their lives to domestic violence, and to show support for anyone who is suffering from effects of abuse whether they are currently dealing with them or they are from the past.

Angie Hunt, the housing program director for HOPE, said the vigil began about 10 years ago.

“The vigil began in response to a local domestic homicide and to reach out to the community,” Hunt said.

Hunt said the vigil generally has a good number of attendee, but they would like to see more members of the community and the campus attend the vigil and show support.

“We sure hope many, many people come to this important event,” Hunt said.

The vigil is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday with the band Motherlode playing music for half an hour, and the vigil is scheduled to begin around 7 p.m.

Hunt said there will be a couple of speakers who will give a short speech about National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which is October, and about HOPE.

“(After the speeches) we will turn it over to anyone who has been impacted by domestic violence, or those who simply care about victims, to speak, read poetry, etc.,” Hunt said.

Their Clothesline Project will be on display during the vigil as well.

The Clothesline Project was created to give those women affected by domestic violence a chance to be creative and get their message out by decorating T-shirts.

“It’s a very powerful display because all of our shirts have been designed by victims and their children,” Hunt said.

The website for the Clothesline Project says there is an estimated 500 projects nationally and internationally with between 50,000 to 60,000 shirts designed by survivors and their families.

“By hanging the shirt on the line, survivors, friends and family can literally turn their back on some of that pain of their experience and walk away,” The Clothesline Project’s website says. “Finally it allows those who are still suffering in silence to understand that they are not alone.”

Along with the vigil, HOPE is encouraging people to participate in their “Purple Thursday” event Thursday.

According to their Facebook page, HOPE wants people to wear or display purple to raise awareness of domestic violence along with coming out to the vigil.


Mackenzie Freund can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]