Originally created 04/03/05

Victim assistance is stronger

We have much to celebrate. Fourteen years ago, Blacks Against Black Crimes Inc. was organized to serve this community and ensure fundamental rights for all crime victims. Since 1994, we have seen crime victims and their families treated with compassion and dignity. There are more than 10,000 community- and system-based organizations that help victims in the aftermath of crime. And more than 32,000 laws have been passed at the federal and state levels that define and protect victims' rights.

Yet there remains much work to be done, and many challenges that will put our shared values to test. We must remain vigilant in our efforts to guarantee the same values that offer help and hope to victims of crime; when you value justice for all people who live in America, you value victim rights and services.

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. told our nation that "if we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values - that all reality hinges on moral foundations, and that all reality has spiritual control." The moral foundation of the victim-assistance field is one of compassion and caring, justice and equal rights. The bricks and mortar we have used to create a nation that values justice, individual and community safety have fueled our efforts for more than 14 years. These values are our vision for a future in which rights and services for victims and survivors of crime are not the exception to the rule, but the rule itself. As the "father of the victim-impact statement," James Rowland once said, "Justice will not be served until victims' rights are not just observed annually, but practiced daily."

Barbara Thurmond, Augusta

(Editor's note: The writer is the founder and president of Blacks Against Black Crimes Inc.)


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