In recognition of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, which took place on April 18 through April 24, a candlelit vigil was held at the Cleveland Senior Citizen’s Center. The event was held on Thursday, April 22, and was sponsored by the Liberty County District Attorney’s Office. Liberty County District Attorney Jennifer Bergman served as the host for the event.
A statement released by the Liberty County District Attorney’s Office stated, “the purpose of the vigil is to help the public honor victims of crime, their families and those who serve them and to alert the public to the realities of crime and express hope for a less violent future.”
The vigil also served to commemorate Child Abuse Prevention Month, which is April. Those in attendance came together in efforts to protect children and to find ways to prevent abuse from occurring.
“The Liberty County District Attorney’s office is not only committed to the prosecution of felony offenses but also providing specialized assistance to victims of crime throughout the court process,” said Bergman. “In doing so, our office provides information, connects victims with resources and referrals to appropriate service agencies in our community and surrounding communities, and assists crime victims during the aftermath of the crime and throughout the court process.”
Lanora Purvis, who is the founder of the non-profit organization Heaven’s Army, served as the first speaker during the event. Purvis has been a voice in the fight against human trafficking and victims of abuse since the non-profit opened the doors in 2010. The organization began in Montgomery County. However, in recent years, Purvis has been able to expand her services to Liberty County and surrounding areas.
The purpose of Heaven’s Army is to rescue at-risk women who are victims of human trafficking and various forms of abuse. The organization provides a home and a safe place for victims to heal and look toward a brighter future in life.
A candle-lighting ceremony marked the closing of the event.
“It is hoped that this vigil will impress upon everyone, that every child is entitled to be loved and that preventing child abuse is the responsibility of all citizens,” said Bergman.