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Crime victims advocacy organization opening York chapter

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
The Kiltie Band of York performs at Trinity United Church of Christ during the 33rd annual Crime Victim' Rights March and Candlelight Vigil Tuesday, April 9, 2019. Participants gathered at the Colonial Courthouse for a presentation before marching to the church for a ceremony and candlelight vigil. The York County Victims' Rights Coalition sponsored the event for National Crime Victims' Rights Week. Bill Kalina photo

A national organization advocating for crime victims will launch its York chapter this weekend with a community resource fair.

The Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, a network of more than 30,000 crime victims throughout 10 states, will hold the resource fair to educate the community about its mission and available resources from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, at Lincoln Charter School, 559 W. King St. in York City.

"The launch of this CSSJ chapter will give survivors a place to heal, connect with others and take action to ensure smarter criminal justice policies that both help victims and reduce counterproductive policies and over-incarceration," said York City Councilwoman Edquina Washington.

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Through local and state chapters, the organization hosts safety and justice policy training, community support events and other activities to educate the community about crime victims while pushing for policy reform.

"Having a chapter of CSSJ here in York will give local survivors access to those important resources, as well as access to a nationwide network of individuals who are also working through similar experiences and moving forward," said Pearl Wise, the mother of Chad Merrill, who was murdered outside a Hellam Township bar last year.

Local crime victims such as Wise will be present at the event to tell their stories. Those interested in attending the fair should contact Alise Murawski at 202-702-6903.

The chapter's opening  comes shortly after Pennsylvanians on Tuesday, Nov. 5, voted on a constitutional amendment known as Marsy's Law that would bolster crime victims' rights. The law would give crime victims the right to be notified about, attend and weigh in during plea hearings, sentencings and parole proceedings.

Tallies were not immediately counted, as the law is being challenged in Commonwealth Court through an injunction by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.