Annual Candlelight Vigil
Susanna Remerata Blackwell, Phoebe Dizon, and Veronica Laureta were shot and killed at the King County Courthouse in 1995 by pregnant Susanna’s estranged and abusive husband, amidst their divorce proceedings. This tragedy organized the Asian & Pacific Islander community as a group of women, (our founding mothers), came together to form what is now known as API Chaya (formerly the Asian & Pacific Islander Women & Family Safety Center). While the tragedy and loss of Susanna Remerata Blackwell, Phoebe Dizon, and Veronica Laureta occurred 18 years ago, the epidemic of domestic and sexual violence in our communities continues. Studies indicate that about half of Asian women have reported experiencing physical and/or sexual violence during their lifetime by an intimate or domestic partner. In a recent 2011 study, 56% of Filipinas and 64% of Indian and Pakistani women reported experiencing sexual violence by an intimate partner. In King County alone, over the past 10 years, there have been 109 domestic violence related fatalities.
We have committed ourselves to holding an annual candlelight Vigil to remember these women and others whose lives have been destroyed by violence, and to create a space for us to truly come together around these lived experiences to heal.
In 2014 & 2015, we have chosen the theme Kapwa: Seeking Resiliency and Healing Through Our Shared Survivorship. A Tagalog word, Kapwa stands for the shared interconnectedness among and between beings. By seeing the self in others, we are able to wholeheartedly support our community while taking accountability for the violence existing in our world. Kapwa seeks to provide the vigil as a transformative and healing space of understanding through celebrating our communities' resilience and survivorship.
More details regarding our 2016 vigil will be posted soon.