by James Whitely -
SGN Staff Writer
On March 4, over 100 people gathered outside of the King County Courthouse to commemorate the lives of three women and an unborn child who were slain in the building 15 years ago.
The 15th annual vigil held by the Asian and Pacific Islander Women and Family Safety Center (APIWFSC) serves to commemorate all victims of domestic violence, but is focused primarily on the slayings of Susana Blackwell, her unborn daughter, and Phoebe Dizon and Veronica Laureta, friends of Susana who were with her in the courthouse when Timothy Blackwell, Susana's estranged husband, saw fit to carry a weapon into the federal courthouse and make unfortunate history.
"Learning from the past, creating action in the present, ending violence through visibility, community and sustainability" was the theme of the vigil. After the opening Indonesian dance, Emma Catague, the founder of APIWFSC, gave a brief history of the vigil. King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg and King County Executive Dow Constantine shared their memories of the fateful day 15 years ago, when they were just beginning their careers. Both were present at the courthouse during the shooting.
Angela Ying of Bethany United Church of Christ led the candlelight vigil portion of the event. After a brief moment of silence, Ying asked those in attendance to break the silence by screaming out the names of victims of domestic violence that they knew. The group then began marching into the courthouse.
The rest of the vigil featured multiple other dance and music performances, as well as speeches by local domestic violence, immigrant rights, and women's rights activists.
The mission of APIWFSC is to organize communities, educate, train, and provide technical assistance and comprehensive, culturally relevant services on domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking to Asian and Pacific Islander community members, survivors, and their families.
For more information on APIWFSC, visit them online at www.apiwfsc.org.
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