From The Trussville Tribune staff reports
BIRMINGHAM – On Sunday, April 8, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall will join First Assistant United States Attorney Lloyd Peeples (Northern District of Alabama), Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale, and twenty-two local agencies for “One Heart in the Park”.
This event, promoted as an uplifting day to stand in solidarity with our community’s victims of crime, is part of the 2018 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week and will include numerous agencies on site in Linn Park with information about resources and support for crime victims and their families.
This event idea developed due to a desire to connect crime victims and members of the community with agencies and advocates that can provide assistance and services.
“This occasion will emphasize how the crime victims’ field can better ensure that every crime victim has access to services and support, and how professionals, organizations, and communities can work in tandem to reach all victims,” said Wanda Miller, Victim Assistance with the Jefferson County Sherifrs Office.
By increasing the public’s awareness of an array of services for crime victims and survivors and their families, the goal is to provide a critical public service to the community by promoting healthy coping skills and support measures for those impacted by crime.
Additionally, attendees are urged to bring photographs of their loved ones who were victims of a crime, or create a personal statement about their own victimization. One area of the park will have space dedicated to these photographs and statements on display. This area will enable crime victims to express the effects and challenges of victimization while putting a face to their personal stories. Supplies and assistance will be available to anyone wanting to participate in the display.
According to the “Crime in Alabama” report compiled by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA), there were 25,188 Violent Crimes reported in Alabama in 2016, a 13 percent increase over 2015. On average, there were 69 violent crimes reported per day in 2016.
Allison Dearing, Executive Director of One Place Metro Alabama Family Justice Center, emphasized how critical it is for a community to offer supportive services for victims and survivors.
“We are fortunate to have so many agencies in the Greater Birmingham area who seek to provide counseling, support groups, financial assistance, advocacy, and other needed services to individuals and their families who have been impacted by crime. If timely connections are made to appropriate resources, we know that these services have the potential to impact victims of crime in a positive way, especially in the first days and weeks following victimization.”
“One Heart in the Park” will be held from 2 p.m. -4 p.m. on Sunday, April 8th at Linn Park, located at 710 20th Street North. The free event is open to the public, with activities suitable for all ages.
The community event will feature complimentary refreshments, along with a live performance by Vestavia Hills High School senior Taylor Wilson, who has been writing songs since she was 14 years old. Wilson recently released her first album, “Where the Heart Is.”