Thursday the citizens of Ardmore and the surrounding area are invited to attend the annual candlelight vigil held in honor of the victims and survivors of domestic violence.
The event, hosted by the Family Shelter of Southern Oklahoma along with the Carter County Domestic Violence Task Force, will take place at Central Park from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
“We would love for as many people as possible to join us in supporting domestic violence victims and survivors,” said Kathy Manning, director of the Family Shelter of Southern Oklahoma.
The children’s choir from Charles Evans will open and close the event with a song, and several speakers representing numerous area organizations will provide information and insight into how domestic violence affects the entire community.
Manning will be the first to speak and she plans to discuss statistics about domestic violence in the state. For example, Oklahoma ranks fourth in the nation for deaths resulting from domestic violence.
Other speakers include Ari James, chairman of the Carter County Domestic Violence Task Force, Kimberly Miller, children’s program director for Lighthouse Behavioral Wellness Center, Ryan Hunnicutt, district attorney for Love County and Tara Woodlee, founder of Ashleigh’s Patience Project.
Woodlee founded Ashleigh’s Patience in memory of her daughter who was murdered by her former fiancée in July of 2012. She will be sharing this story as well as advocating for increased domestic violence awareness.
Manning said that additional area organizations that help support the victims of domestic violence will be in attendance and will be bringing information about the various services they provide.
“We want just want people to know that domestic violence is something that affects everyone,” Manning said. “It can happen do anyone regardless of race, income level, or gender. Domestic violence does not discriminate.”

Need to know
If you or someone you know experiences domestic violence, The Family Shelter of Southern Oklahoma offers services, including counseling and crisis services. The 24 hour Crisis Hotline number is (580) 226-6424.