Texas Council on Family Violence Celebrates Texas Senator Jane Nelson This Mother’s Day for Her Service to Texas



Southlake, TX (May 8, 2016)-This Mother’s day the Texas Council on Family Violence is remembering all of the mother’s out there who are not with us to celebrate mother’s day and celebrating all the wonderful Texas moms who are with us making a difference in the lives of Texans.

TCFV praises the leadership of women who have made it their life’s work to empower other women. These women created remarkable services and policies, and challenge conditions that permit domestic violence to occur. These extraordinary women are also exceptional mothers. Thank you for making the world a better place.

“We are here today to honor all the mothers in Texas. The mother’s we have lost, the mothers who are here and the grandmothers who are now raising their grandchildren or never got to meet their grandchild because their mom was taken away in violent act of murder.  We are here, because we believe lives will be saved and we want to help people recognize the signs of domestic violence and empower them to help friends and co-workers who are in abusive relationships before it is too late,” said Gloria Terry, CEO of the Texas Council on Family Violence.

State Senator Jane Nelson

Senator Nelson first joined the Texas Senate in 1992, serving during a time of significant change and growth for our state’s response to family violence as well as for her own family. Back in the 90’s, Senator Nelson experienced bias against victims of violence both in the legislature and beyond, but she has long worked tirelessly to both support substantive measures to hold offenders accountable and keep victims safe. At the same time as she worked to pass laws to make it a felony for family violence strangulation, require a $100 fee be paid by offenders to their local family violence program, create the new offense of continuous violation of protective order, and create an accreditation process for Battering Intervention and Prevention Programs, Senator Nelson led the effort to fully fund family violence programs. There is no doubt that her bold actions benefit Texans for generations to come. All this while raising five great kids who have made her a grandmother six times over. Our deepest respect and admiration to this super Mom from Grapevine!

Jennifer King, Region 3 Director, Texas Department of Criminal Justice

Jennifer’s leadership and dedication to creating safe communities for families spans three decades. In her role with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice – Community Justice Assistance Division, Jennifer is deliberate in holding offenders accountable while always striving to ensure victims are safe. Jennifer’s purposeful leadership has profoundly impacted Texas by instituting high standards for battering intervention programs and laying the foundation for strong working relationships between BIP programs and community supervision agencies. Jennifer’s degree in Criminal Justice is the backdrop for her strong belief that everyone with the right structure and coaching can reach their potential. Her commitment to keeping Texas families safe is as undeniable as her commitment to her own family. Jennifer beams with pride as she recounts the joy of raising her two sons. Between sending care packages and offering guidance to her son Wesley, 21, away at college and cheering on her son Christen, 9, at football games, it’s clear Jennifer is their number one priority.


Maricarmen Garza, Victim Rights Group Coordinator & Attorney, Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid

Maricarmen has personally handled more than 1,900 legal cases for victims of domestic violence. Her quiet demeanor and soft voice belies the fierce, consummate advocate with legal expertise to take on the most difficult cases. She doesn’t stop at the easy answer, she always looks for ways and means to address gaps in legal response for survivors, and she has profoundly expanded the access to legal services along the entire southern part of the state.  Her superhero skill is the ability to listen carefully, thoughtfully and invite your confidence – that is the foundational piece that propels her success with survivors. She is deliberate in thought and strategic in action. She selflessly gives of herself so others will be safe and have the best legal counsel at their side. All this while balancing concert recitals, yoga practice, and choir with Nicholas, 12, Sebastian, 10, and Marielle, 5 who affectionately call her “Mom.”


Marta Pelaez, CEO, Family Violence Prevention Services

Marta has been a leader in developing progressive, responsive yet simultaneously nurturing services for women and children in crisis for decades. Her background as a clinical psychologist allows her to study the scientific side of human behavior to build remarkable and effective services. This valuable skill has served thousands of survivors in San Antonio well – protecting many from great harm. Within five minutes of meeting Marta, you experience her unparalleled grit and determination to social justice. Within ten minutes, you are caught up in her energy and ready to follow her charge up any hill. Marta is a unique paradigm: she balances grace, intelligence and an undeniable wit. It is no wonder then that her children Manuel Alejandro, Raul and Juanita are such accomplished professionals and more importantly kind, compassionate adults who use their collective intelligence and her imprint to better the world. If you ask them, they will tell you that while she wears many titles, such as CEO of Family Violence Prevention Services, Mama is the title that fits her best.


Texas Council on Family Violence is the only 501(c) 3 nonprofit coalition in Texas dedicated solely to creating safer communities and freedom from family violence. With a state-wide reach and direct local impact, TCFV, with the collective strength of more than 1000 members, shapes public policy, equips service providers, and initiates strategic prevention efforts. Visit us online at http://www.tcfv.org/