By Ray Wong
October 22, 2010 (San Diego)--Last week, a 19-year-old student named Diana Gonzalez was found dead in a men’s bathroom at San Diego City College. Investigators are looking for her estranged husband because there has been a history of domestic violence reported between them. It’s a shocking incident that has made front-page headlines.
I work as a counselor at San Diego City College and I don’t want to focus on the horror of the violence. What I want to tell you about is the candlelight vigil organized by the campus Associated Students in front of the school cafeteria Thursday evening in honor of their fellow student.
Hundreds of people holding lit candles and red carnations gathered to hear touching tributes to Gonzalez: dedications, stories, songs and poetry in her honor from those who knew her personally and those who came to know her through tragedy.
Representatives from the Associated Students for City, Mesa and Miramar Colleges spoke. The president of City College and the chancellor of the San Diego Community College District addressed the audience. Students, college staff and instructors expressed their heartfelt condolences to Gonzalez and her family. Mental health counselors, community service providers and social workers from domestic violence agencies offered their support and assistance to those who might be suffering silently from the effects of domestic violence.
Former victims of domestic violence walked up to the microphone and spoke, often in halting voices while fighting back tears, about the terror and shame of being victimized. Former perpetrators of domestic violence conveyed their profound regret at having inflicted such pain upon their partners and vowed to never do so again.
The problem of violence was illuminated in the hundreds of candles burning so brightly in tribute to Diana Gonzalez. And the solution so touchingly demonstrated is the courage of individuals to seek help and the solidarity of a school and a community banding together against domestic violence.
Ray Wong is a resident of Rancho San Diego and a counselor at City College. The views expressed in this editorial reflect the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine. If you wish to submit an editorial for consideration, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.