Six years ago, Sundt Field Supervisor Cesar Salazar’s wife, Anastacia, started the Kristine Meza Foundation in honor of a close friend who died as a result of domestic violence.
The foundation’s mission is to raise awareness about the impact of domestic violence. The organization is committed to strengthening individuals through education, compassion and courage. It serves as a resource to those associated with domestic violence’s physical, emotional and mental harm. Its biggest fundraiser is an annual Purple Race 5K, which drew 800 runners this year, including several Sundt employee-owners.
Anastacia took a few minutes to answer questions about where the foundation is and where she and Cesar would like to see it go. Cesar is working on our San Pedro Creek project in San Antonio.
How did the foundation come about?
The foundation came about in 2011 when we lost our friend Kristine Meza to domestic violence. In the last two years of life, Kristine endured a tough relationship with her former boyfriend. She went from being happy to feeling insecure, depressed and later fearing him. In no time, Kristine had unwillingly found herself in a domestic violence relationship. She took all necessary steps to legally protect herself but on Feb. 11, 2011, she was ambushed in her driveway on her way to work. Kristine’s passing left a huge hole in all those who knew her well. After her passing, family and friends embarked on a mission in hopes of making a difference for those who feel locked in silence. The Kristine Meza Foundation started Sept. 14, 2011.
Where are you getting your funding?
We get our funding from our Annual Purple Run and those who sponsor the event.
How did the Purple Run get started?
Left with mixed emotions about Kristine’s passing, I wanted to channel all my anger and hurt into something positive. I had participated in 5Ks and knew the crowd and energy one could form so I asked Kristine’s mom if we could host a 5K in her honor. On Feb. 18, 2012 we hosted the first domestic violence awareness 5K, “STOP the Silence, END the Violence 5K Run/Walk.” We had more than 440 people register and about 650 there. It was cold and pouring rain and people just kept on coming. We had our opening ceremonies and once we started our prayer, the rain stopped and the sun started shining. Once the race was over, the rain started again. It was a very powerful moment, a true you-had-to-be-there experience. After hosting two STOP the Silence, END the Violence 5Ks, the Battered Women & Children’s Shelter approached us and asked us to partner with them. We hosted the first Purple Run in October 2013.
Where would you like to see your foundation go in the future?
I would like our foundation to be known nationwide. I want sports teams to wear a purple awareness ribbon as well as a pink one (for breast cancer awareness) in October. I want to surpass 2,000 registrants in the Purple Run.