More than 200 people turned out for the Candlelight Vigil and Memory Ride at Mackenzie Park Sunday afternoon to remind the community that "it shouldn't hurt to be a child."
Last year in Texas alone 212 children lost their lives as a result of child abuse, one in Lubbock County. Volunteer Charlotte Davidson is doing her part to put an end to it.
"In the five years I have been here more than 1,200 children have died of child abuse in the state," she said. "It's a problem."
Police escorted the riders from Mackenzie Park to the Second Baptist church on South Loop 289 and Chicago where a candlelight vigil was held to honor each victim. An additional 200 people came to be a part of it, bringing the total to over 400. After the vigil, there was not a dry eye left in the church.
"Each biker holds a candle. They have the name of every child who died," Davidson said. "When you've got a big biker with chains and a Harley Davidson and he reads the name of a 3 year old little girl who died, let me tell you that is too powerful for anybody."
Terry Conger is a correctional officer in Brownfield and one of the bikers who participated in the rally. He says the main reason he does the ride is for his nieces and nephews, to try and prevent more child abuse deaths.
"Our goal is to keep more alive. You bring five people to awareness and you may save 15 kids," he said. "The reading of the names is the most special for us. That's when we actually recognize the ones that have fallen victim to this - it's the whole reason we're here."
Caitlin Holmes is the administrative coordinator for the Family Guidance and Outreach Center. Her main goal is to make people aware of what's going on.
"Child abuse is really a community problem. It could be someone in class with your children. It could be someone who lives down the street, so really the more that the community is aware of what's going on the better it is to help stop it from being such a problem in our area," Holmes said.
She says the majority of deaths are from parental neglect such as not taking care of their children, not picking them up and not feeding them. Although it saddens her to see the extent of the problem, Holmes is happy to see so many people supporting the victims.
"It really makes me so happy to see so many people out here in the community taking part and making a difference on the issue."
CORRECTION: An early version of this story said this was the Blue Ribbon Rally. Although the events are connected, the actual Rally is scheduled for April 27.
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