By Marielle Mohs

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — A memorial car procession rolled in front of the Minnesota State Capitol building on Tuesday to honor the 25 known victims of domestic violence killed in the last year in Minnesota.

The goal of the procession was to get the attention of lawmakers. Shortly before the procession started, state leaders and advocates for domestic violence prevention spoke about what they want lawmakers to address in the 2022 legislative session, which is slated to start in a matter of days.

Among the things advocates want is more accessible long-term housing solutions for survivors of domestic violence, so that victims can live independently and leave their abusers. They also want background checks for gun purchases in Minnesota.

Amirthini Keefe, the executive director of the Domestic Abuse Project, says that 60% of domestic violence victims in Minnesota were shot last year — that’s up 14% from 2020. She hopes that more people can begin to talk more openly about domestic abuse prevention and shake the stigma surrounding the topic.

“Silence around domestic violence has deep roots in our culture,” Keefe said. “While the world is changing, and we are being called to reflect on ourselves, our own power and our role in dismantling systems of oppression, we need to decide what cycles we want to break.”

Also before the procession, there was a memorial to the 25 known victims of intimate partner homicide. Almost all were women. They were also disproportionately Black and Indigenous women.

Marielle Mohs