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Dozens of families, children and adults gathered alongside the Criminal District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez Jr., Sheriff J.E. "Eddie" Guerra, members of the DA's Victims Unit as Commissioners Court issued a Proclamation declaring October to be Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
More than 100 people attended a Purple Day Awareness Fair at the County Courthouse prior to walking to Commissioners Court to accept the proclamation.
The impact of domestic violence is wide-ranging, directly affecting individuals and society as a whole, here in this community, throughout the United States, and in the world.
Rodriguez, who accepted the proclamation, reported his office has received four grants totaling $559,114 to support the Victims Unit. The funds, in part, helped increase the staff from one position to seven, including three victim advocates, a prosecutor position, legal counsel for victims, and an assistant coordinator.
"We were able to create a team to provide needed services to victims," Rodriguez said. "That has happened with your (Commissioners Court) continued support."
All citizens are urged to actively participate in scheduled activities and programs to work toward eradicating domestic violence, improving victims' safety, and holding perpetrators of domestic abuse accountable for their actions.
Members of the Weslaco High School Lady Panthers softball team were among the groups who showed support for domestic violence victims Tuesday.
Rodriguez thanked other agencies and organizations for their support as well, including: Mujeres Unidas; Nueva Luz Foundation;Texas Department of Criminal Justice; UT-RGV police department and students; the Women Studies Department at South Texas College; Painting with a Twist; World for Children; Weslaco Police Department; Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office; Hidalgo County Constables; Fuerza Unida; Mission Police Department; Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid; Texas Department of Child Protection Services; and South Texas Civil Rights Project.
Victims Unit Director Rosie Martinez said the students in attendance were part of the Young Hearts Matter campaign, adding that the teenagers work to provide prevention education on teen dating violence.
"These are the future generation that will break the cycle of silence and abuse," Martinez said.
Some of the members of Young Hearts Matter include the Hidalgo County Family Violence Task force, PSJA Teen Parent School, Weslaco ISD Lady Panthers softball team, ABC Trouble girls softball team, and students from B. Garza Middle School in Weslaco and Domingo Trevino Middle School in La Joya.
Martinez also thanked Commissioners Court for its support.
"With your support we were able to fully staff our unit and we've served over 6,000 victims of crime and have provided over 11,000 different types of services since we started the unit in April 2015," Martinez said.
VIEW PURPLE DAY PRESS CONFERENCE VIDEO HERE >>