Friends, family and fellow immigrants held a vigil to remember Laudrinha Kuboloso, an asylum seeker from Angola who was killed in a hit-and-run in Lewiston, Maine, last fall.
Police say her boyfriend, Evaristo Deus, was driving the SUV that struck and killed her at the corner of Birch and Howe Streets. Kuboloso was four months pregnant, and both she and the unborn child died at the hospital.
"Laudrinha's death has paved the way for many immigrant women to speak up about this issue [of domestic violence]," said Fatuma Hussein, President of the United Somali Women of Maine.
Hussein organized a vigil on Friday to remember Kuboloso. She said in many immigrant cultures, domestic violence is something kept quiet.
"We are in a country where women have rights," said Hussein.
Friends and family say Kuboloso mentioned problems in her relationship with Evaristo, but they never imagined it would end so violently.
"I was shocked," said Kuboloso's sister, Marilyn.
About 25 people gathered at the intersection where Kubolos was killed Friday to pray, reflect on her life, and bring awareness to domestic violence.
For the first time, Kuboloso's mother, Suzanne, spoke publicly about the loss of her daughter and grandchild.
"What made me come here to speak to the community is to keep things like this from happening again," she said through a translator.
Deus has been charged with murder and is awaiting trial.