MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Montgomery District Attorney Daryl Bailey held “An Evening of Remembrance” Tuesday night to honor victims during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.
The ceremony started at 6 p.m. at Landmark Church in Montgomery and aimed to honor the lives of local homicide victims and provide important information about support services for their families.
This year’s theme for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is “Support Victims. Build Trust. Engage Communities.” It celebrates the contributions we all can make toward building trust and our community’s capacity to support the healing journeys of crime victims, such as those of hate crime victims.
“The faces of crime victims are those of our family, friends, neighbors, and community members. Now is the time to redouble our efforts so that victimization continues to decline and fewer and fewer of our families become victims of crime. Through ‘An Evening of Remembrance,’ we not only aim to raise awareness of victims’ rights and services but vow to reach out, listen, and support the families of the precious souls who lost their lives to senseless violence as they press forward on a path to recovery,” said Bailey.
According to the most recent National Crime Victimization Survey from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1.2 million people were victims of violent crime (excluding simple assault) in 2019. While some crimes dropped last year due to lockdowns stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, that was not the case for homicides and shootings in many cities and counties across the United States, including Montgomery County.
Across the country, this week is dedicated to learning about victimization, the effect victimization has on individuals, families, friends, and the community, and promoting laws, policies, and programs in place to help victims of crime.
The featured speakers for “An Evening of Remembrance” spoke from experience with their own loss to crime:
- Pastor Terry Ellison, New Life Church of Christ, the loss of parishioners
- Anthony Brock, Head of School, Valiant Cross Academy, a former student
- Rhonda Brown, the loss of a son.
All three shared powerful messages about healing, forgiveness, and why our entire community needs to come together to help uplift and protect our children.
Another special component of “An Evening of Remembrance” included the “In Memoriam” tribute, a multimedia candlelight vigil presentation that featured photos of Montgomery County homicide victims and tribute messages from their families.