Crime survivors remember loved ones with candlelight vigil

By: Sophia Hernandez | WCTV Eyewitness News
April 13, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – Saturday morning across the United States, groups like the Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice hosted a candlelight vigil. The vigil was in remembrance of loved ones that have lost their lives because of crime.

The group in Tallahassee used the event as a way to share with the community their "survivor stories," and share their ideas on how they hope to shape policy that can help reform criminals.

Crime survivors like Agnes Furey said the day is all about unity.

"It's energizing to know that you are not alone, and that we can support each other," she said.

Her daughter and grandson were murdered in 1998. The pain from their loss has never gone away.

"I think all I can say is that I wish that somehow it might have worked out differently," said Furey, clinging to a photograph of them.

Those in the group are working to change policies involving criminals and the justice system. They said that with reform, they can hopefully stop the cycle of crime within the community.

"It's not just being nice to bad guys. It's in the interest of public safety for everyone," said Furey.

Co-coordinator of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice Doris Strong said survivors like her want to help those who have done them harm.

"We want to be at the table when policies are made concerning survivors. We want them to ask us what we want," said Strong.

Mark McMillan knows that change is possible. McMillan, who spent years in and out of jail, now has a family, is a reverend and is helping others like him find a new way of living.

"Super life," emphasizes Mark. "Meaning that I overcame what the common man could not overcome. There are so many out there who have experienced that also."

With every candle held, the group continued to support those affected by tragedy.

McMillan said, "No matter what you go through, somebody else has gone through that or something much more intense. If they can overcome, you can overcome. too."

The event was a kickoff to National Crime Victims week.. The vigil was hosted in honor of Programs Action Day.

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