Welcome everyone to the Inaugural Remembering Homicide Victims Crime Awareness Memorial Event! We are so happy everyone came out today to remember our loved ones and learn a little bit more about community safety and the resources for grieving family members in the community.
Now, before we hear from some of our speakers and lay out the agenda for the event, we should probably describe who we are and why we have set up an event like this. My name is Nick Christian and I am one of the Co-founders of Remembering Homicide Victims – an online community dedicated to helping the family members of Homicide victims cope with their loss. We were formed after the passing of Andrae Davis; his Fiancée, Lorraine Calkin decided she wanted to create a place online where she could talk about how she was feeling with people who were going through the same things. Immediately after his passing she had trouble finding people that were going through the same things of which she could relate.
And as easy as that, RHV was born. We operate off of two sites; our Facebook pages where we communicate with the majority of our fan base or “likers,” as we call them. The other is our word press blog where we try to post a lot of information, organizational updates and memorials of loved ones submitted to our site.
Now the goal for the event is two-fold; first off, we want to remember our loved ones in a group setting as a community. This date has special meaning to Lorraine as Andrae would have turned 32 and it is 19 days prior to the one year anniversary of his passing. We wanted to pick a date special to us because we understand there are so many meaningful dates to each and every one of you. Hopefully sharing in this date will allow you to bring others into your memorializing’s of your loved ones.
The second aspect to the event is we want things to get better for the future of the community. Something we talk about on the website a lot is we don’t want people to feel the way we do. No one should have to go through the post-traumatic stress of losing a loved one to a violent crime. Which is why we felt it was very important to have members of the local and state authorities present; if we could hear them talk about how they look at safety from their different levels, the importance they place on achieving a safe community and how violence impacts their daily lives, then maybe we can get a better understanding of how to be safe in the community – which is a goal we would all love to achieve.
I’m very excited to learn about what the future has for Remembering Homicide Victims. Lori and I are moving to different cities on the east coast to start new chapters in our lives but, at this point, both are still very committed to making RHV an online resource for families and providing assistance whenever we are able. Hopefully we can do things like this in those communities and possibly other ones.
Albuquerque, however, will always be our home and we want to help make changes here whenever possible. And today we start with an idea. The idea that we can be a peaceful community, we can do away with the violence we see more and more of on a daily basis, we can feel safe in our own homes. Hopefully today we will be able to begin to achieve those goals.
Tonight’s event will have three stages. In our first grouping of speakers we will hear from Dr. Larry Allen and then the family members and friends of people whose lives have been lost. Pastor Allen provided the service to Andrae’s funeral and his insights to the grieving process are something Lori has credited as helpful when she first began grieving.
In our second grouping of speakers we will hear from Victims’ Advocates Pat Caristo and Joan Shirley from NIA/NM Resource Center for Victims of Violent Death, Albuquerque Police Department Public Information Officer Tasia Martinez and the New Mexico Secretary of Public Safety Gorden Eden will be the last of our speakers.
Shortly after the keynote we will hold the memorial portion of the event. We will light candles and release lanterns for each name on our list.
Also, between each grouping of speakers we will have a half hour break for people to use the restroom, converse with other families and get very helpful information from some of the booths that are present.
Without any further ado, let’s get started! Ladies and gentlemen, to kick off the event, Dr. Larry Allen.