Candlelight vigil Saturday

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The Socorro County Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Task Force is holding its fifth annual candlelight vigil for National Domestic Violence Awareness Month on Saturday.

The vigil begins at 5 p.m. at the Socorro plaza and will conclude with a remembrance/awareness march for all victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.

Pat Acosta, Coordinator for La Casa, Inc. Batterer Intervention and Prevention Program in Las Cruces, has been invited as our special guest and keynote speaker.

In 1982, Acosta left an abusive relationship and raised her four daughters as a single parent, has been involved in the domestic violence movement since 1984, holds a Bachelor of Arts in social work from New Mexico State University, is a trainer for Encuentro Latino National Institute on Family Violence, was awarded the Presidential Silver Medal Service Award (the highest national recognition given to volunteers in the U.S.) by President Bill Clinton in 1997 and has appeared on the national stage in publications including USA Today and McCall Magazine and on a segment of the Oprah Winfrey Show.

"We are very pleased to have such a distinguished guest speaker as Ms. Acosta speak at the vigil this year," Keith Valles, task force facilitator said. "This time is set aside each year to remember those who have suffered and continue to suffer the scourge of violence against women and family or domestic violence."

The Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Task Force is an organization founded in 2005 and comprises local law enforcement agencies, local domestic violence service providers, mental and other health care providers, other community organizations and community members.