July-August 2012

How a few counties celebrated Crime Victims Rights Week

Mandie James, Crime Victim Liaison in the Brazos County District Attorney’s Office

Victim advocates in the Brazos Valley come together each year to put together the Every Victim Every Time Crime Victim Conference in College Station. This year’s conference hosted over 450 attendees over the two-day conference as well as the inaugural Legacy Dinner. Guest Speaker was Marc Klaas with the Klaas Kids Foundation and was a great success. The committee that puts the conference together as well as the Legacy dinner is the Crime Victim Conference Alliance or the CVCA.

Dalia M. Arteaga, Crime Victims’ ­Coordinator in Medina, Uvalde, and Real ­Counties

The very first annual “Go Blue Day” was a rousing success in Hondo, thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Bluebonnet Children’s Advocacy Center, Child Protective Services, and the 38th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. The event drew an enormous crowd and was held at the historic train depot in Hondo on April 19. It raised awareness of the crime victims in our community and also educated the community as to where to seek help if they are the victims of crime. The festivities were enjoyed by all.

Cheryl Williams, Anderson County ­Criminal District ­Attorney’s Office

For the past four years, we have celebrated Crime Victims Rights Week by hosting a victim/survivor dinner and having all victims of violent crime in our county come as our guests. We have a wonderful catered meal, entertainment including an inspirational song, and a keynote speaker.

    This year we hosted our Fifth Annual Victim/Survivor Dinner and we had approximately 145 people in attendance. Our speaker was Kevin Galey. He is in charge of counseling at the Wedgewood Baptist Church in Fort Worth. He is also a survivor of a tragic crime. He was one of the many victims of a man who walked into their church in 1999 and shot numerous people, killing seven. Mr. Galey was shot and had life-threatening injuries; he also witnessed others being shot, many of whom were young. Mr. Galey spoke not only as a counselor, but also as a victim. He talked about how a person survives and recovers from a traumatic and senseless crime, telling of his own struggles, not necessarily “how to get over or past it.” It was something that a lot of our audience could truly relate to.

    We advertised our event in the local newspaper the week prior to the dinner. There were some victims that saw this article about Mr. Galey being a victim himself and they came for that reason alone. They felt that he could relate to them and their feelings.