LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Tuesday, the City of Little Rock recognized National Crime Victims’ Rights Week with dozens of people who have lost loved ones. Families brainstormed with law enforcement and politicians to discuss the rights, access, and equity deserved by all victims.
The week was institutionalized by President Ronal Reagan in 1981, and as the number of homicides in central Arkansas increases, so does the crowd.
Families with lost loved ones have brainstormed with law enforcement and politicians to discuss the rights, access, and equity deserved by all victims. Victims like Earl Williams Senior. He lost three sons to crime over the past couple decades, and like much of the crowd carries their memories with him.
“It’s a happy sad time because it brings a lot of memories back, a lot of lonely times back, that everybody don’t get to understand. I mean all these people around they know, they feel, they understand,” Williams said.
The week for victims is organized by victims, like Joyce Raynor who lost her son to violent crime and became the executive director of Center for Healing Hearts & Spirits.
Raynor stated, “It’s much bigger than my son’s legacy. It’s about all the other individuals, and it’s about bringing together all the resources. The law enforcement agencies, the victims’ advocates, and the list goes on and on.”
A transformation is required to turn a victim into a survivor according to Raynor. For many of the people observing National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, they are focused on entering that transformation, bringing others through it, and the big message sent back with everyone “No more victims!”
Attendees wrote their loved ones’ names on a memorial wall and honored their legacies by planting flowers, so that broken hearts can come out of the darkness and help prevent further loss of life.
“We need to start to solve the conflicts before they start happening,” Earl Williams Sr. spoke. “That’s my mission if I can just save one person. You know that’s the mission. If you can get one, you can get two. If you can get two, it’s a domino effect going up just like it’s a domino effect going down.”
If you missed Tuesday’s gathering, there will be another in Pine Bluff Thursday. It starts at 10 A.M. on 200 East 8th Avenue. Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott also recognized April as sexual assault awareness month during Tuesday’s event.