Maria’s Voice Plans Domestic Violence Vigil on Oct. 7
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
To make sure the issue is not forgotten, one family and community continues to speak out about safe homes and healthy relationships. It’s in memory of Maria Pew, a young woman who lived in Maple Grove and died at the hands of her husband in the spring of 2020.
But that’s not the end of Maria’s story, as a nonprofit in her name, Maria’s Voice, continues to speak out.
“Domestic violence thrives in silence,” says Sara Silva, executive director of Maria’s Voice. Silva is working on several initiatives for the entire month of October to create awareness and educate the public about this important issue.
Lissa Weimelt is co-founder of Maria’s Voice and also Maria’s mother. She continues to connect with people in the community to prevent tragedies like hers from happening to them. This month, Maria’s Voice is hosting a vigil to honor Maria and 28 lives lost from domestic violence in the area this past year. They chose to hold the event at the Angel of Hope statue at the Maple Grove Arboretum.
“In domestic violence, anyone who is victimized by it, they don’t have to lose their life, but anyone who is victimized by domestic abuse is a child of someone. So what a fitting place to come to to celebrate their life, but to also say you know, we are people who even though we may have lost you, we can do so much more so so that don’t have to lose someone else,” said Weimelt.
“We’re bringing together pillars from our community, leaders from all across our community, and illuminating our collective action to prevent domestic violence. I think it’s going to be very powerful to have us all together and say look at what we can do when we join together. That’s the only way it can happen,” Silva said.
Several Efforts Underway
This is one of many efforts Maria’s Voice is working to prevent domestic abuse. One includes an educational video for the work force.
They continue to invite vital voices to the table for discussion and collaboration.
“We really believe in men being allies to ending domestic violence. They have a very powerful role to step into,” said Silva. “We want to have happy, safe, equal healthy relationships we think everyone deserves that and a safe home.”
A mission to continue to keep alive no matter how much time passes.
“And in working to prevent domestic abuse we show to everybody in our community that prevention of abuse is about kindness. It’s about love. It’s about behavior that says I acknowledge and I treasure the person around me and the person I’m closest to. So we want to endorse behaviors like that and because of that we’d like to prevent domestic abuse. And we are guided by Maria about that and she is our angel,” Weimelt said.