LU staff participates in Victims’ Candlelight Vigil
Three Lamar University staff members will participate in the 22nd Annual Crime Victims’ Candlelight Vigil sponsored by the Jefferson County Coalition for Victims of Crime. The Vigil is scheduled for Thursday, April 26, at 6 p.m. at the Jefferson County Courthouse Jury Impaneling Auditorium. The Vigil is part of many local events commemorating National Crime Victims Week (April 22 – 28), which honors those who have been harmed by crime. The Vigil includes music, poetry, and a moving keynote tribute to Jefferson County crime victims and their families.
The master of ceremony will be Jesse Doiron, a Victims’ Rights Advocate, and a long-time member of the Coalition. Doiron is an instructor of English at Lamar University and a recipient of the Julie and Ben Rogers Community Service Award and the Governor’s Award for Restorative Justice. In 1983, Doiron was the victim of attempted capital murder.
Antoinette Mays, special events coordinator for the Lamar Alumni Association and a fellow Julie and Ben Rogers Award recipient, will give the invocation and benediction at the event. Mays, is the sponsor of Bruised but not Battered, an LU student organization for victims of domestic abuse. She is an ordained minister and a Christian counselor. A former keynote speaker for the event, Mays is also a victim of crime. An accomplished pianist, Chris Vogt, instructor of English at LU, will provide music prior to the ceremony (5:30 p.m.) in the foyer of the Jefferson County Courthouse Annex. This is the first year Vogt, also a victim of crime, is participating in the Candlelight Vigil.
The Jefferson County Coalition for Victims of Crime is comprised of local government, civic and state organizations as well as concerned individuals who work to provide victims and offenders with treatment, counseling, support and education. During National Crime Victims Week the Jefferson County Coalition for Victims of Crime, together with local crime victims and survivors, criminal and juvenile justice professionals, victim service providers and community volunteers will join others across America in commemorating the 35th anniversary of crime victims’ week.
Misty Craver, executive director of the Jefferson County Victims Assistance Center explained, “This year’s theme – ‘Extending the Vision Reaching Every Victim’’ – pays tribute to crime victims, survivors, victim service providers, and justice professionals who, for many decades, have joined together in mutual support and advocacy to promote victims’ rights and services.”
For decades, crime victims and those who serve them have joined forces to ensure all victims are aware of their rights and have access to the various community and governmental services that can help them in the aftermath of crime. There are many programs in our community that provide victims with crisis intervention counseling, support, safety planning, and advocacy throughout the justice process; and our state’s victim compensation program helps victims recover from the many costs associated with criminal victimization.