DEXTER, Maine — The tiny white T-shirt pinned on a clothesline in Wayside Park on Saturday danced in the wind, conjuring images of a small boy scooting across a floor and giggling while grabbing at things that intrigued him, but it also conjured something much more sinister.
The shirt belonged to 21-month-old Treven Cunningham who, with his 20-year-old baby sitter Mindy Gould, was murdered execution-style in Dexter in 1999.
Their murders were not the first incidents of domestic violence, nor have they been the last to occur in the state over the years, but they will never be forgotten in Dexter.
The T-shirt was a reminder of those senseless deaths to those who gathered Saturday for the annual Speakout and Candlelight Vigil to remember 11 Maine victims of domestic violence during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
“What you’re doing here tonight is you’re planting the seeds of hope that you’re going to carry with you for the rest of your lives,” Art Jette, Treven Cunningham’s grandfather and Womancare’s community relations coordinator, told the gathering Saturday.
Before the vigil the participants walked from Dexter Regional High School to Abbott Memorial Library, where a small flower garden was planted earlier in memory of the two Dexter victims.
At the park, Jette thanked the 50 Dexter Regional High School students who were participating in a homeless night to raise funds for Womancare and other nonprofit organizations helping the homeless.
“When we think about home, we think about the safest place that we have, and when the security of home is taken away, what do you have left?” Jette asked. He suggested all those gathered Saturday could do more to help one another and make their communities safer.