Crime survivors are marking the end of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week with vigils across the country. One of those ceremonies took place in Harrisburg Saturday.
Community members called for better support for survivors and for policies to prevent crime.
“His potential will not be realized fully and because of that, I have to show up and be present in ways he will not be able to do so,” said Julia Mallory.
Mallory was talking about her son Julian, who was shot and killed at age 17.
“He was big on education,” said Dr. Kevin Dolphin of Harrisburg. “He was big on leadership. He was big on us coming together.”
Loved ones of Julian were some of many crime survivors who shared their stories at the vigil.
Lisa Burhannan of Harrisburg lost her son Darrell Evans. It’s what motivates her to make a difference.
“Just because he’s no longer here doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a voice,” said Burhannan. “I am his voice.”
The Survivors Speak event at the Choice Community Christian Church aimed to empower those impacted by crime and to show people there are resources to help them heal.
Harrisburg Police Chief Thomas Carter provided support and a different perspective.
“A lot of people just think, when you see a police officer at a crime scene, that you see a blue suit, a cold heart,” said Carter. “That’s not true. I go through the same thing that every other parent goes through when they lose a child. I cry for that parents and that child.”
People suggested ways to increase safety and decrease crime, including new laws.
“As a lawmaker, I need to be in touch with you about the laws that will help crime survivors in our state,” said Rep. Patty Kim. “We passed Marsy’s Law and that’s going to the Senate. We hope that will be helpful.”
Change and hope are what drive survivors like Mallory every day.
“I thank you all and pray for all of your peace,” said Mallory.
The vigil was hosted by the Harrisburg chapter of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice.