Combating Abuse In Sister’s Memory
Family Members Raise Funds To Aid Violence Victims
Four years after their sister was slain by her boyfriend during a dispute in Middle Village, two local women are keeping her memory alive by raising funds for organizations to assist domestic violence victims.
The second-annual “Team JoJo” fund-raiser was held at Highland Park last Saturday, July 23, bringing together family and friends of the late Joanne Camacho to honor her life by supporting various groups who provide assistance to women who are abused by their partners.
Founded by Tabitha LaPorte and Jennifer Arroyo, the team honors the late Joanne Camacho, who at 27 years of age was shot in the head by her boyfriend, Edmond Huertas, during an argument in their home on Eliot Avenue in Middle Village on June 2, 2007. She died from her injuries two days later.
Camacho (who was called JoJo by her sisters) had been abused for months by Huertas prior to her murder, Arroyo said in an e-mail to the Times Newsweekly. After fleeing from the scene and hiding for five days after the shooting, Huertas was taken into custody by police and booked on murder charges; he was convicted in February of this year and sentenced on Mar. 14 to serve 25 years to life in prison.
Though Huertas’ conviction brought Camacho’s family a sense of justice being served, they are looking to do more to help those who are currently experiencing abuse find the help they need before another tragedy takes place.
LaPorte and Arroyo organized the first “Team JoJo” fund-raiser last summer, raising money for organizations such as Jericho Road, a ministry that offers shelter and support services to female domestic violence victims, and Voices of Women, a global group dedicated to educating the public about human rights and issues affecting women and children throughout the world.
“My sister started the team and came up with the idea of where we could donate to other organizations and shelter,” Arroyo told the Times Newsweekly. Team JoJo is currently considering a number of organizations for which to donate funds from this year’s event.
Looking ahead, Arroyo indicated that team members would work to launch an educational program to schools and teach children about the dangers of domestic violence. They would also seek to empower victims to report abuse and seek assistance before its too late.
“This is important to us because many young girls are never taught about domestic violence,” Arroyo said in an e-mail. “We want to teach the men, women, children, teens and anyone else who will listen what domestic violence really means.”