Texas Border Business
By Roberto Hugo González
On October 3, 2023, the Mission community came together in a powerful display of unity to shed light on the issue of domestic violence. This remarkable event, organized as a collaborative effort between the Mission Police Department and the Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office, aligned perfectly with Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Throughout the evening, survivors, advocates, local leaders, and concerned citizens joined forces to raise awareness and support those affected by domestic violence.
The event featured various activities, but its primary goal was to send a clear and resounding message: help is available for those in need, and no one should suffer in silence. Participants were encouraged to wear purple attire to symbolize solidarity with Domestic Abuse Awareness.
One of the event’s highlights was the powerful Survivor March, where individuals who had overcome the horrors of domestic violence proudly walked side by side, demonstrating resilience and strength. In addition to the march, the Mission Event Center was covered in a beautiful purple glow, honoring victims and survivors and serving as the light of hope.
City of Mission Chief of Police Cesar Torres delivered a heartfelt message during the event, acknowledging the persistent issue of domestic violence, especially in South Texas. He reassured victims that they are not alone, and that programs and support systems are available to assist them during and after challenging times. Chief Torres also had a strong message for perpetrators, emphasizing that law enforcement, in collaboration with the District Attorney’s office, is committed to pursuing justice for crime victims and holding those responsible accountable.
Hidalgo County Precinct 3 Commissioner Ever Villarreal expressed his gratitude, stating, “I would like to wholeheartedly thank Mayor Norie for their firm support of this event dedicated to raising awareness about domestic violence. I deeply admire the commitment of Mission Mayor Norie Gonzalez Garza, the Mission Chief of Police Cesar Torres, and Mission Fire Chief Adrian Garcia – their dedication is commendable. I also want to thank DA Terry Palacios, who has made combating domestic violence a central focus since his election. To all residents of Precinct 3, I strongly encourage you to pay a visit to our office. We offer many opportunities and services, including assistance with taxes and utility bills. This support is essential because domestic violence victims often hesitate to leave due to a lack of resources. Our office is a safe haven, ready to provide your assistance and support.”
Judge Sergio Valdez, Hidalgo County Court at Law No. 7, expressed his gratitude for the community’s collective effort in addressing domestic violence. He stressed the importance of education and involving everyone, especially children, in understanding and addressing this issue. By collaborating with various organizations and agencies, Judge Valdez believes that the community can significantly impact and contribute to solving the problem.
Alex Benavidez, the first assistant to Hidalgo County District Attorney Toribio “Terry” Palacios, praised the event’s focus on domestic violence awareness. He highlighted the significance of purple, symbolizing peace, courage, survival, and freedom from violence. Benavidez called for community action and encouraged residents to report any suspicions of domestic violence to local law enforcement to combat and reduce its impact.
Gloria Terry, from the Texas Council on Family Violence, emphasized her organization’s role in advocating for domestic violence survivors and driving policy changes. She highlighted the upcoming report, “Honoring Texas Victims,” which exposes concerning statistics about domestic violence homicides in Texas. Despite these distressing figures, she commended the dedication of organizations and individuals in the community who work tirelessly to support victims, hold perpetrators accountable, and implement preventive measures.
A domestic violence survivor, Frida Suarez shared her traumatic experience during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. She recounted the signs of abuse she had missed in her relationship and the terrifying moment when her life was threatened. Frida’s story is a potent reminder that domestic violence can happen to anyone, and it’s crucial to recognize the signs and seek help. Today, Frida is grateful for the support of law enforcement and her family, and she encourages others to speak out and seek assistance.
Before reading a proclamation against domestic violence, Rosie Martinez, Victims Unit Director of the Hidalgo County Criminal District Attorney’s Office, asked for a moment to recognize all the survivors present, acknowledging their strength and resilience.
In conclusion, the Mission community’s effort to raise awareness about domestic violence is commendable. By coming together and supporting survivors, they are taking significant steps toward breaking the cycle of abuse and creating a safer, more compassionate community for all. This event serves as a reminder that domestic violence should never be tolerated, and help is always available for those who need it.