30th annual victims' rights march and vigil planned
For the 30th year in a row, crime victims, their families and witnesses will take part in a vigil and march in York City organized by the York County Victims' Rights Coalition.
This year's Crime Victims' Rights March & Candlelight Vigil will be held from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m Tuesday, April 12, according to Kate Rush, the chairwoman of the coalition.
It will start at the Colonial Courthouse in the 200 block of West Market Street, York City, and, after a few people speak to the crowd there, they will march two blocks east down the street to Trinity United Church of Christ, 32 W. Market St.
West Market Street between Pershing Street and George Street will be closed from 6:30 p.m. to about 7:30 p.m.
Rush said the event usually draws between 150 to 200 people, and this year it will be honoring people and organizations who have been with the coalition for a long time.
"We have a lot of crime survivors who come year after year after year," she said.
Survivor: And she's one of them. In 1993, Rush was kidnapped and raped, she said. She went to the vigil and march the next year and has come back just about every year since. She said she's heard other survivors say they come to the vigil because it feels good to know they aren't alone.
"It’s meant to be a healing event," said Rush, who's now 43.
She said it's intended to promote a message of hope.
"Even though you’re the victim of a crime, it doesn't mean it defines you," she said. "There’s hope in healing."
She said it sometimes seems victims end up being forgotten in the criminal justice process, so marches and demonstrations such as this are good ways to shift the focus.
"It’s nice to have that voice and be recognized," she said.
She also said the coalition will use the event to try to get victims in touch with some of the services available to them around the county.
"Unfortunately, when you become a victim of crime, you don't realize how much help is out there," she said.
There are programs the YWCA runs such as Access-York and the Victims Assistance Center, for example.
The Victims' Rights Coalition is made up of governmental bodies such as York County Children Youth and Families, organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the YWCA, law enforcement agencies such as the York City Police Department and York County Sheriff's Office and other groups.