Domestic violence vigil aims to educate, empower,'break the chains'
By Ed Runyan
About 100 people turned out on Courthouse Square Wednesday night to hear messages of hope and empowerment at a Prayer Vigil to End Domestic Violence.
The vigil, called by the Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative, was prompted by the shooting death of Jonathan Meadows Sr., 41, July 28 at his family’s home on Hunter Street Northwest.
One of his daughters, Bresha Meadows, 14, is charged with murder, and has been in the Trumbull County Juvenile Justice Center since then. Family members have said Bresha’s behavior resulted from years of abuse by Jonathan.
“We’re here tonight to break those chains that domestic abuse has caused in the lives of so many, making them to feel that they are shackled and bound by the circumstance and situation,” said Marcia Dinkins, MVOC executive director.
“We want a community that will stand up and will no longer compromise and cower and fear the conversation of domestic abuse but will stand up and heart-in-heart and hand-in-hand and say, Stop, it hurts.’ ”
Dinkins said domestic violence “hurts our children, it hurts our family, it hurts our communities, it hurts our churches, it hurts our educational system. As a matter of fact, it hurts generations because when it starts with one, it trickles down to me.”
The vigil was organized to occur the night before Bresha’s next court hearing, but the hearing has been canceled, and no new date has been set.
“Bresha’s story should be a wake-up call to our community,” Dinkins said. “Clearly something is broken when a tragedy like this happens in our midst.
“As a community and justice system, we failed to safeguard and protect Bresha, her mother and her siblings. What resources do our social service agencies and police require so they can really help families dealing with abuse?”
Dominic Mararri, director of public relations for the Warren Family Rescue Mission, said he sees the “wreckage of domestic violence on a regular basis,” but the Family Mission has resources that can help.
“If you know someone or have a family member or friend who finds himself in a similar situation ... we have our men’s center. If you have an argument with a significant other, you can come into our program and get some space and get away from that situation,” he said.
“We have our Hannah’s House that provides a one-year program to women who suffer with life-controlling issues such as addiction. We also have our women and children’s center, which provides a safe and controlled environment,” he continued. “The program promotes and encourages women to learn life skills, as well as obtain employment and eventually become self-sufficient to obtain their own home.”
Melanie Hameed, a teacher at Warren G. Harding High School, said there is help available through the school system.
“There is a big old building over there with a ton of teachers,” she said of the high school. “And as long as one of them is there, we are always willing to listen to you. There is hope. There is always hope. Even for my precious Bresha, who I had in 9th grade, there is hope.”