Updated October 22, 2020 - 7:38 pm
Dozens of employees at a North Las Vegas shelter lit candles and shed tears to remember victims of domestic violence Thursday night.
To celebrate Purple Thursday, the national day of action during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, 28 employees at The Shade Tree, on 1 W. Owens Ave., wore their purple “survivor” shirts while CEO Linda Perez talked to them about the positive effect they’re having on victims’ lives.
“Tonight is a night to mourn victims and celebrate survivors,” Perez told the Review-Journal before the vigil. “I want my staff to honor the victims who lost their lives, and it’s our responsibility to make sure they don’t end up as fatalities.”
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reported 48 percent of women and 31 percent of men in Nevada experience partner violence or stalking in their lifetime, compared with 33 percent and 25 percent respectively nationwide.
The staff stood outside the charity’s gates for three minutes of silence. A second vigil exclusively for Shade Tree clients was planned for later in the evening. Perez spoke to the employees about her plans to hold the vigil annually, citing her history with domestic violence growing up and in her own relationships.
“We see Cinderella and all those princesses that get the prince. It’s not like that for everybody,” Perez said to the group gathered on the outdoor basketball court. “I grew up believing that, but I also grew up watching domestic violence in my home, which was confusing to me. Is he a prince? Or is it this abusive person? That continued in my life with every single relationship I had until now.”
Perez thanked the employees for what they’re doing to support the families coming through the shelter. The Shade Tree has 364 permanent beds and helps more than 6,000 women and children annually, according to a statement from the company.
“I want them to continue their story of survivorship,” Perez said. “Each one of you can contribute to the success of our clients.”
Those wishing to help the charity during Domestic Violence Awareness Month can volunteer to teach children participating in distance learning or donate clothes and toiletries for women and children.