Vigil will begin at 6 p.m. on Oct. 10 at the Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater

Members of the community, police, and youth groups will be among those who gather to pay their respects to Connecticut residents who lost their lives due to domestic violence when The Center for Family Justice holds its second annual Regional Domestic Violence Awareness Month Vigil on October 10, 2023 at the Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater in Bridgeport.

The event is free and open to all who wish to join. The program runs from 6 until 8 p.m. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

“It is tragic, but people are still dying from abuse within their families,” said Debra Greenwood, President/CEO of The Center for Family Justice. “Instead of being safe in their own homes, too many people are in life-threatening situations.”

CFJ continues to face high demand for its free and confidential services for those impacted by domestic violence, sexual violence, and child abuse. CFJ serves more than 5,000 people from Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Stratford, and Trumbull.

“We work closely with not only the families, but with law enforcement, schools and other community partners to stop the cycle of violence and help more people realize that they can thrive and succeed after leaving those situations,” Greenwood said. “We can get them away from danger and to safety in the short term, but can also help them rebuild to a brighter future in the long term.”

Gary MacNamara, former Fairfield police chief and current Executive Director of Public Safety and Government Affairs at Sacred Heart University, also chairs CFJ’s White Ribbon Committee – a group of male volunteers and community leaders who want to take a stand against gender-based violence.

MacNamara said he encourages everyone in the community to gather at the vigil to continue to make a difference in the lives of others.

“Everything the Center does throughout the year – every event, all the training, all the awareness efforts and all the support for victims – is done to stop this from occurring,” MacNamara said of domestic violence fatalities. “Until that day, we gather as a community every year for this event to remember the victims, support their families, and celebrate their lives, through music, dance and togetherness.”



As part of the vigil, CFJ will present a video during which participants discuss CFJ’s “HOPE Coach” mentoring program, which brings male role models together with boys to build a pathway to a future without violence.

“Our HOPE Coach video demonstrates the value and impact of mentoring from the perspective of mentors, mentees, and community leaders because we all benefit tremendously from the mentoring experience,” said Scott Redfern, secretary of CFJ’s Board of Directors and member of the White Ribbon Committee. “As you’ll see from the video, these life lessons and memories are often carried with us throughout our adult lives, and mentors are often former mentees who are paying it forward to the next generation.”



The vigil will also feature “The Domestic Violence Altar,” which is put together by CFJ’s Latine Unit. The altar is a powerful way of honoring those lives lost to domestic violence and survivors of violence.



Other highlights of the vigil include:

  • A talk by Miss Connecticut 2023 Gina Carloto, who will share her own story of domestic violence.
  • Badges – made up by the Bridgeport Police Department in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month – will be available for sale. Proceeds will go toward The Center for Family Justice programs.
  • Performances from various youth groups.


Questions about the vigil can be directed to the Development Department at (203) 334-6154.

The vigil is a free event. Food will be available for purchase from Dave’s Planet Pizza Truck.

If anyone wishes, please bring a bag of Halloween candy, which we will use to serve client families at our upcoming Boo Bash later in October.