Vigils to Raise Awareness About Violence, Promote Healing

Monday, April 16, 2012

Saint Joseph’s University will host two vigils this month aimed at increasing awareness about violence. The 12th annual Take Back the Night Vigil will be held Wednesday, April 18 at 7 p.m. in the Chapel of St. Joseph-Michael J. Smith, S.J. Memorial. The event is organized and hosted by SJU’s award-winning REPP (Rape Education and Prevention Program) group and calls attention to sexual and physical violence against women. This year’s keynote speaker will be Janine Kelly from the Montgomery County Women’s Center and Eric Stiles from the PA Coalition Against Rape.

“I’m proud that SJU has hosted this important event for the last twelve years,” said Raquel Kennedy Bergen, Ph.D., professor of sociology and one of the REPP advisor. “It’s an important event that helps survivors heal from their experiences of violence and opens the eyes of many other community members to this devastating problem.”

On Thursday, April 26, the University’s Richard Johnson Center for Anti-Violence will host the 6th Annual Candelight Vigil for Philadelphia’s 324 homicide victims. The event will take place in the Chapel of St. Joseph-Michael J. Smith, S.J. Memorial, at 7 p.m. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter’s Chief of Staff Everett Gillison will make remarks and the 324 names of those who died because of violent crime in Philadelphia in 2011 will also be read aloud as a candle is lit for each.

“The story behind each killing is tragic and horrific for its own reason,” says Maria Kefalas, Ph.D., director of the Richard Johnson Center. “Some people were murdered by people who said they loved them. One of the dead includes a young mother of four walking down the street to visit her own mother. At our vigil we honor and think of them all.”



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