City Holds Vigil in Memory of Margarita Morehead

Community leaders, elected officials, and neighbors gathered outside City Hall on Friday morning for a vigil to remember Margarita Morehead, who was killed in a domestic violence incident on May 8.

Angel Alvarez, 65, pleaded not guilty to her murder. Prosecutors allege Alvarez stabbed Morehead to death after she refused to reconcile with him. Morehead had an active restraining order against Alvarez.

Community members attended a domestic violence vigil in memory of Margarita Morehead at City Hall on Friday. Also pictured are Police Chief Keith Houghton and City Council President Leo Robinson.

“Our heart goes out to Margarita Morehead and her family,” said Kourou Pich, the Chief Executive Officer of HarborCOV, the local domestic violence program serving Chelsea and surrounding communities.

Unfortunately, Kourou said, Morehead’s death is not unique to the city, noting that it is the second domestic violence death in the city in less than two years.

“Domestic violence is everybody’s business, it is not an isolated incident,” said Kourou. “It does not discriminate based on race, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. We must recognize that this type of violence affects all of us, and we need to take a stand to support and educate our friends, neighbors, and families. Domestic violence is our business.”

Kourou said domestic violence can be physical, emotional, economic, psychological, or technological actions or threats of action or other patterns of coercive behavior that influence the other person within an intimate relationship.

Kourou asked everyone who attended the vigil to take a pledge to speak up if they ever encounter an incident or acts of domestic violence.

As many as one in three women and one in four men have been victims of physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime, and even more individuals experience emotional, financial, and sexual abuse, Kourou said.

HarborCOV held the vigil in partnership with the city, the Chelsea Police Department, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, La Colaborativa, and Jane Doe, Inc.

Police Chief Keith Houghton said that sometimes incidents escalate from having to say something to having to do something.

“That’s calling 911, sometimes that may be the last line to end the cycle before we get to where we are today,” said Houghton.

Houghton said the police department has a domestic violence program where it partners with HarborCOV and other community partners to assist the victims of domestic violence in a dignified manner and to guide them through the process.

State Representative Judith Garcia said it was unfortunate that the community had to gather because a life was lost to domestic violence.

“I stand before you, yes, as a state representative, but I stand before you as the daughter of a survivor of domestic violence,” said Garcia. “A Latina woman who took courage to stop the cycle.”

La Colaborativa Executive Director Gladys Vega said people have to step up to make sure they care and take care of their neighbors, even if they might not know them.

“In our culture, when it comes to marriage, and domestic violence, and relationships, we look to the side … we take the bystander effect, we don’t care, it’s a marriage problem,” said Vega. “Absolutely no … and that is why our youth need to be taught at an early age, our students should be challenged to end the cycle. Domestic violence does not have room in a relationship, only love has room in a relationship, and if it is not about that, it is no.”

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