Friday, April 20, 2018

What We Can Do About the Culture of Hate | Sally Kohn


We're all against hate, right? We agree it's a problem -- their problem, not our problem, that is. But as Sally Kohn discovered, we all hate -- some of us in subtle ways, others in obvious ones. As she confronts a hard story from her own life, she shares ideas on how we can recognize, challenge and heal from hatred in our institutions and in ourselves.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

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Saturday, April 14, 2018

In Memoriam, Victims Lost to Violence

PHOTOS BY JOEL ROSENBAUM -- THE REPORTER
Susan Slankard rings a memorial bell for her daughter Molly McAfee, McAfee’s fiance Adam Buchanan and her grandson Gavin Buchanan, who were murdered in 2015, at the end of a ceremony to mark National Crime Victim’s Rights Week Wednesday at the Matt Garcia Career and College Academy in Fairfield.
PHOTOS BY JOEL ROSENBAUM -- THE REPORTER Susan Slankard rings a memorial bell for her daughter Molly McAfee, McAfee’s fiance Adam Buchanan and her grandson Gavin Buchanan, who were murdered in 2015, at the end of a ceremony to mark National Crime Victim’s Rights Week Wednesday at the Matt Garcia Career and College Academy in Fairfield.

It was a somber event, a call to observance, with prayers, art, speakers, a moment of silence, the ringing of bells, all to remember victims of violence, many of them young and close to the very heart of life at their time of deaths, and to remember and console family members and relatives who continue to struggle in the aftermath of senseless tragedy.

Under gray skies, a cool, sometimes brisk wind blew across the lawn at the Matt Garcia Career and College Academy in Fairfield, where several hundred people, most of them academy students, gathered Wednesday for a memorial ceremony to rededicate a monument at the Civic Center Drive school, a local event to honor all those affected by violence in Solano communities and to mark National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

The roughly one-hour ceremony, held at the campus for the second time in as many years, was coordinated by the Solano County District Attorney’s Office and the Solano Family Justice Center.

In a brief interview moments before the ceremony began, Teresa Courtemanche, the mother of school namesake Matt Garcia, a Fairfield city councilman fatally shot a decade ago, said support services for violent crime victims’ families were “better than they were, but, still, we need to do more.”

She said that surviving family members, in some cases, have been unable to receive supportive services, such as mental health counseling, and that she and others may take the cause to the state Capitol in Sacramento.

Looking toward the several-sided, pyramid-like metal monument with text and inscriptions and a bell hanging in its interior — the piece sculpted by local artist Chad Glashoff — Courtemanche said the ceremony was a way to “remind people at anytime, anywhere can be a crime victim.”

Her son, a staunch youth advocate before and during his time in office, one of the youngest city officials ever elected in California, was gunned down Sept. 1, 2008, while visiting a friend in Cordelia and declared brain dead a day later. He was 22, and the two men charged with the crime, an apparent case of mistaken identity, were sentenced to prison in 2010.

Asked what the ceremony meant to her, Courtemanche said, “Personally, we need to help each other.”

And, she added, it is necessary for everyone to be aware of crime or potential violence.

“If you see something, step up, tell someone,” Courtemanche said.

Supporting youth and stopping crime was among her son’s chief priorities and it is important “to keep Matt’s dream alive,” she said, adding, “Support youth — it will help to stop crime and strengthen the community we live in.”

In her brief remarks, District Attorney Krishna Abrams, standing at a lectern just a few steps from the academy’s classrooms, a cluster of colorful balloons fluttering in the wind in the near distance, said survivors of crime and crimes victims’ families continue to cope with anger, frustration, sadness “because of a senseless act of violence.”

While the U.S. justice system will never be able “to restore your loss,” ceremonies such as Wednesday’s are a chance to support victims and communities, she said.

Fairfield Mayor Harry Price, looking at the expanse of students seated in white chairs, said that the city’s youth can build “a better tomorrow” by being vigilant in preventing crime.

“When you see something, say something,” he said.

Wendalyn Fabian, field representative for Assemblyman Jim Frazier, delivered a proclamation, and academy Principal Dennis Foster called on everyone, especially youth, to “find solutions to strife and conflict” without violence. The ceremony, he added, symbolized “a call to action.”

Artist Zachary Young, who painted a mural on the concrete adjacent to the lectern and also seemed to direct his remarks at the students, said violence and crime prevention “starts here, starts now, it starts with you.”

Willie Graham, pastor of the Christian Body Life Fellowship Church in Vacaville, recalled his last meeting with Matt Garcia, saying, “He believed in investing in others,” that his legacy will be a life lived according to firmly held beliefs.

“We are a people of joy, of hope,” Graham continued. “As Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream lives on, Matt’s dream lives on.”

He called on area youths “to take up the banner,” to make the community and the world a better, safer place for all.

In her remarks, Courtemanche, representing the Matt Garcia Foundation, said she had been living “this nightmare of losing your child to violence.”

Addressing some of her statements to several parents of violent crime victims, the so-called “Angel Moms,” who sat in a row just beyond the lectern, Courtemanche said, “We continue to be here for each other.”

Five Angel Moms — Susan Slankard, Vernalisa Gutierrez, Gina Liberto, Isabel Reyes and Rita Edmonds-Norris — also spoke.

As Courtemanche held up a poster of the Slankard’s slain family members, Slankard recalled her 8-year-old grandson who wondered how he would be protected from a violent crime.

“Let’s help them, too,” she said, an allusion to how crimes reach far beyond immediate family members and a reference to the week’s national theme, “Expand the Circle, Reach All Victims.”

As each mother spoke, Courtemanche continued to hold up memorial posters of the slain victims, Jesus Amaya, Phillip Liberto, Eric Reyes and Chad Edmonds, among them.

Gina Liberto recalled the day her son died, saying, “It changes your whole life forever,” but the tragedy is somewhat eased with crime victim support services, notably “the reassurance that someone is on your side when all hope is gone.”

Edmonds-Norris, whose son was slain in 1993, likened her many years of coping and struggle to “crawling across broken glass,” experiences that included police investigations, media attention, a “horrific” trial, and unprocessed grief that may lead to illness, depression “and the pulling away from friends.”

“Grieving is a lifelong process,” she said.

A few moments later, a group of academy students, lined in a row, rang small handbells. The Angel Moms each stepped up to the metal monument and rang the bell inside, the sounds echoing somewhat across the lawn and Civic Center Drive.

In his event-ending statements, Angel Aguilar, director of the Solano Family Justice Center, urged all “to take a stand against violence.”

“We do it as a community and how we treat each other,” he said.

Article Source: TheReporter.com

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Please Join Us TODAY at Noon for the National Crime Victims Rights Week Memorial Vigil


You are cordially invited to attend the National Crime Victims Rights Week Memorial Vigil to be held in Fairfield,

 on Wednesday, April 11th at 12:00 noon,

at the Matt Garcia Academy located at 1100 Civic Center Drive in Fairfield.

This memorial day vigil is hosted by the Solano County District Attorney’s Office and The Matt Garcia Foundation in recognition of Victims lost to violence in our community.

Thank you in advance for saving the date and also assisting in promoting this to others who wish to support the community and those who have lost loved ones here in Solano County, as well as across the nation.

The national message of hope and theme this year is:

EXPAND THE CIRCLE… REACH ALL VICTIMS

Thank you for your continued support towards the prevention of violence by assisting in spreading this message.

On behalf of the hosts, I’d like to thank you in advance for supporting this important awareness week!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Crime Survivors Say Their Pain ‘Has to Translate Into Something’


Crime survivors from across the country were in Sacramento Monday for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. During an event, titled "Survivors Speak: Healing Through Action," Parkland shooting survivor Samantha Fuentes and founder of the #MeToo Movement Tarana Burke spoke to a packed room. “There is no way God put me in this world to be used and abused. It has to translate into something," Burke said. The focus of this week's events is to highlight the need for "a safety and justice system that works for everyone. A system that prioritizes prevention, accountability and recovery from harm," according to the news release.

You are cordially invited to attend the National Crime Victims Rights Week Memorial Vigil to be held in Fairfield,
 on Wednesday, April 11th at 12:00 noon,

at the Matt Garcia Academy located at 1100 Civic Center Drive in Fairfield.

This memorial day vigil is hosted by the Solano County District Attorney’s Office and The Matt Garcia Foundation in recognition of Victims lost to violence in our community.

Thank you in advance for saving the date and also assisting in promoting this to others who wish to support the community and those who have lost loved ones here in Solano County, as well as across the nation.

The national message of hope and theme this year is:

EXPAND THE CIRCLE… REACH ALL VICTIMS

Thank you for your continued support towards the prevention of violence by assisting in spreading this message.

On behalf of the hosts, I’d like to thank you in advance for supporting this important awareness week!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Crime Victims Events Scheduled for Fairfield, Vallejo


FAIRFIELD — A monument rededication ceremony reflecting on National Crime Victims’ Week will be held Wednesday in Fairfield, and a vigil will be held Thursday in Vallejo.

Both events start at noon and are hosted by he Solano County District Attorney’s Office and the Solano Family Justice Center.

“National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is an important time for reflection,” Solano County District Attorney Krishna Abrams said in a statement announcing the events. “It’s a time to remember all of the survivors, including those lost to violence, and an opportunity to share their strength, courage and love of life with our communities.”

The first will be held at the Matt Garcia Career and College Academy, 1100 Civic Center Drive, in Fairfield.

“The monument, commissioned by the Matt Garcia Foundation, was sculpted by local artist Chad Glashoff and will serve as a permanent fixture of courage and peace at the community campus. Additionally, Zachary Young will paint a message on pavers to enhance the grounds. The national theme this year is to “Expand the Circle, Reach All Victims,” which is hope for all victims of violence across the nation,” according to the statement.

The second event will be at Vallejo City Hall, 555 Santa Clara St.

The theme to this year’s National Crime Victims’ Week, which runs April 8-14, is “Expand the Circle, Reach All Victims”

For more information, call the Family Justice Center, Office of Family Violence Prevention, at 784-7635.

Article Source: Daily Republic 

Friday, April 6, 2018

Please Join Us On Wednesday, April 11th, for the National Crime Victims Rights Week Memorial Vigil


You are cordially invited to attend the National Crime Victims Rights Week Memorial Vigil to be held in Fairfield,
 on Wednesday, April 11th at 12:00 noon,

at the Matt Garcia Academy located at 1100 Civic Center Drive in Fairfield.

This memorial day vigil is hosted by the Solano County District Attorney’s Office and The Matt Garcia Foundation in recognition of Victims lost to violence in our community.

Thank you in advance for saving the date and also assisting in promoting this to others who wish to support the community and those who have lost loved ones here in Solano County, as well as across the nation.

The national message of hope and theme this year is:

EXPAND THE CIRCLE… REACH ALL VICTIMS

Thank you for your continued support towards the prevention of violence by assisting in spreading this message.

On behalf of the hosts, I’d like to thank you in advance for supporting this important awareness week!