The Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office is joining with Silence Is Violence and other agencies in sponsoring the annual National Crime Victims’ Rights Week events in the New Orleans area, including a march through the Faubourg Marigny and French Quarter and a memorial balloon release over Bayou St. John.
Agencies across the United States will be observing the week, April 10-16, drawing the public’s attention to the traumatically emotional, physical and financial burdens that crime victims are forced to carry. The week also highlights the rights crime victims and witnesses to crimes have. Louisiana recognizes them in its Crime Victim Bill of Rights.
This year’s theme is “Serving Victims, Building Trust, Restoring Hope,” underscoring the importance of early intervention and victim services in establishing trust with victims. That, in turn, begins to restore their home for healing and recovery, according to the U.S. Justice Department’s Office for Victims of Crimes, which coordinates National Crime Victims’ Rights Week nationwide.
“My entire staff and I support and recognize this annual commemorative event,” Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul Connick, Jr. said. “National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is a unique opportunity to celebrate the tremendous progress made on behalf of victims.”
Tamara Jackson, executive director of Silence is Violence, said she’s excited to partner with the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office this year.
“Our partnership will address specific needs of victims and their families,” Jackson said. “Our goal is to establish working relationships to better serve crime victims by building trust and restoring hope.”
Marilyn McCoy Roberts, acting director for the Office for Victims of Crimes, said in a message to providers of victims’ services that this year’s theme underscores the importance of establishing trust with victims and reaching socially, economically and geographically isolated people.
“If victims are to trust that the system will work for them, we must meet them where they are – physically, culturally and emotionally,” Roberts said. “By serving victims, building trust and restoring hope, the field can more effectively help victims as they rebuild their lives.”
The week stems from the movement that began more than three decades ago to recognize victims of crime.
Mai Fernandez, executive director of the National Center for Victims of Crime, which partners with the Justice Department in highlighting the week, said this year’s theme “reminds us of the significant progress we have made in recognizing victims’ rights and at the same time emphasizes the need to expand our reach to marginalized, isolated, and other victims who are less likely to seek recovery services on their own.”
“We know that early intervention – addressing victimization when it occurs – is critical and can improve victim recovery and prevent future victimization,” Fernandez said.
In the New Orleans area, this year’s events include:
- The Tutu Walk for Sexual Assault Awareness, 6 p.m., on Tuesday (April 12). The walk begins and ends at Port and Chartres streets in Faubourg Marigny and takes marchers through the French Quarter. The route will follow Royal Street to Bienville Street in the French Quarter, and Bourbon to Toulouse streets, then to Decatur Street past the French Market to Elysian Fields and Chartres back to Port Street.
- Purple & Blue Peace Day, on Wednesday (April 13). Supporters are asked to wear purple or blue in support of women and children abuse prevention.
- “Drinks for a Cause” on Thursday (April 14), 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., at The Rusty Nail, 1100 Constance St., New Orleans.
- A memorial balloon release on Friday (April 15), at 6:30 p.m., at Orleans Avenue and North Jefferson Davis Parkway.
- A prayer vigil at 2 p.m., on Saturday (April 16), at Marr Avenue and Donner Drive in Algiers. It honors Kenneth Hall, 27, who was shot to death while in his pickup truck near the intersection on June 21, 2015.
Additionally, the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office Victim-Witness Unit will provide information and resources all week from a static display in the Jefferson Parish Government Center’s atrium in Gretna, at 200 Derbigny St.
Other agencies involved with Silence is Violence in this year’s events include the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office, the New Orleans Police Department’s Victim-Witness Unit, the New Orleans Forensic Center and The Family Leadership Training Institute.