Crime Victims' Rights Week 2010 brought me the honor of meeting families of crime victims by sharing my story during two seperate ceremonies this week. Last Sunday, I was invited to speak during the Texas City Crime Victims Candlelight Vigil & Bench Dedication Ceremony. There was a great turn-out of families who came to honor their loved ones, eventhough the weather wasn't necessarily on our side that day. It started to rain, so the ceremony got moved inside the police department. I don't know why, but I was fine until I was called up to the podium to give my speech..and then completely broke down. I didn't want to cry, but I was just overwhelmed, I think. Jonathan came up to comfort me, and that was good, because from then on, I was able to compose myself and complete my speech. During open mic, families shared their stories with the crowd, and it just saddened me to hear them talk about the senseless murders of their loved ones. There were many tears in that lobby that day, but also an overwhelming sense of unity. Once the weather cleared, we all (about a group of 100) moved outside and each got a balloon, which we wrote whatever we wanted on, and released. It was an amazing sight! The pastor lead us in a prayer as we stood with our candles lit, and then there was the bench dedication. I'm so thankful that I was able to spread my message of "Use Your Voice!" to this group, and hope I may have inspired those who still, after all of these years do not have suspects brought to justice..to never give up. Thank you to all of my wonderful friends who were able to make it out and show support! I love and thank all of you from the bottom of my heart!
Click this link to watch portions of the ceremony: www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrnSrMT8I5w&feature=player_embedded

On Tuesday, I attended and spoke at a Brick Dedication Ceremony at Dickinson PD, and I did much better giving my speech there, and didn't even cry this time. I also got a standing ovation, which was very unexpected and nice! I couldn't help but think of how just 6 months ago, I stood at the very same podium, in the very same room, giving a statement just hours after Dennis Bradford was arrested in Arkansas. These past six months have really flown by, and it's just amazing to me all that has happened within that short period of time. At the ceremony in Dickinson, I met a little girl who is 9 years old, and at the age of 2, both of her parents were murdered. She is being raised by her grandmother, and was crying during the ceremony as her grandmother spoke up and told the story. It was very emotional, as they still have not caught who murdered this little girl's parents. It was heart-wrenching, to say the least. Afterward, I talked with her, and she drew me this picture: This is the reason I continue to share my story. If I could, I would bring her mom and dad back...but that isn't something I'm capable of, so at the very least, I was able to use my voice in sharing my story and showing support.. comforting her and giving her and her grandmother hope that day. As we congregated outside and enjoyed the beautiful weather, with our lit candle roses, Chief Morales unveiled a brick on the walkway of the police department, dedicated to Crime Victims.

Saturday morning, Jonathan and I got up early and headed to Galveston Island for the Crime Victims' Rights 5K Walk/Run along the Seawall. We were both excited to participate, as neither of us had ever done anything like this before, and now look forward to participating every year! Over 200 people showed up for this event, and God is so good. The weather was supposed to be awful, with over a 60% chance of rain...and honestly, we couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day for the run! It was 84 degrees, full of sunshine, mixed with a cool breeze, and we finished our walk in about 45 minutes. This was HUGE for me since I do not like to sweat, and I don't even walk to my own mailbox, lol. I ran into many supporters along the Galveston Seawall who were wearing their "Use Your Voice!" t-shirts, and I was just elated to see everyone out there and see so many familiar faces!! At my half-way point, there was an especially familiar face giving out water :) Thanks, Cromie - for all that you do to support crime victims!


BabyBoomerQueen said...
March 18, 2011 at 10:01 PM

Hello Jennifer,

I am so glad that you are still fighting injustice and letting your voice be heard.

A while back I wrote several articles on you and what an astounding young woman you are.


I am just stopping in to see how you are doing.

My prayers and thoughts are with you.

Good luck and best wishes always,
~The Baby Boomer Queen~

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