Kentucky Victims of Homicide Memorial: A Reflection
Lee Alcott Executive Director Barren River Area Safe Space, Inc. & Board Member, Kentucky Victims of Homicide Memorial Fund
Sunday, September 29, 2013 was a perfect day for an early morning run. The sky was tinted with pinkish purple clouds and there was a soft breeze. Over 100 individuals gathered at Resthaven Memorial in Louisville to participate in the 1st Annual RUN FOR REMEMBRANCE, dedicated to victims of homicide in Kentucky. The run was designed as a fundraiser for the Kentucky Victims of Homicide Memorial Fund in order to provide partial scholarships for families to request the placement of names on the Memorial Wall. The memorial wall and courtyard is located within the Resthaven complex. It is a solemn place to reflect, remember and commemorate those individuals whose lives were cut short by a violent act.
I had the privilege of attending the Run for Remembrance as a board member of the Kentucky Victims of Homicide Memorial Fund. Our committee arrived in the darkness of an early Sunday morning and I was struck by the fact that the memorial wall seemed to glow in that darkness, a solemn reminder that each individual name inscribed in the granite wall would be remembered. The sound of the fountain, streaming down the granite heart kept us focused on preparing for the race. The first person to show up was the mother of a homicide victim and she kept vigil over the memorial while other runners began to appear. Her silhouette in the dark appeared as a guardian angel watching over the many names etched on the wall., including names of victims of domestic violence homicide.
The Memorial Wall began as a collaborative project of the Kentucky Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the Kentuckians’ Voice for Crime Victims (KVCV). It attained incorporation status in 2003.
It is the goal of the Board of Directors to increase awareness of the homicide Memorial Wall across the Commonwealth in order to increase the placement of names of innocent victims of homicide. My intent in joining the Board was to increase the number of submissions of names of victims of Domestic violence homicide.
The KHVMF has an application process for name placement on the wall or for purchase of an engraved brick along the walkway leading to the fountain and wall. An application signed by an immediate family member is required. Other requirements include documentation that the victim’s death is a result of a criminal act. For more information please contact KHVMF, P.O. Box 23, Eminence, KY 40019 or email KyVOHMemorial@gmail.com to request an application. The Memorial also has a facebook page: Facebook/KentuckyVictimsofHomicideMemorial.
The Barren River Area Safe Space, Inc., the regional primary service provider of domestic violence services recognizes the need to remember those individuals who have lost their lives as a result of domestic violence. In 2002 Sara’s Garden was created in the back of the emergency shelter property.
The garden is a solemn place to honor the lives of victims of domestic violence related homicide. Over 30 trees line walk-ways throughout the garden, each dedicated to a loved one. Trees are planted at the request of family members, elected officials and/or victim advocates. A plaque is placed at each tree includes the name, date of birth and date of death of each homicide victim. Several trees are dedicate women from Logan County that have lost their lives. Their names will not be forgotten.
Sara’s Garden is maintained through community support. Various volunteer groups or individuals offer assistance with maintenance, planting of flowers and shrubs, and creating garden rooms. Families are invited to visit. It is one small way to offer solace and to remind the community of the ultimate act of domestic violence.
For more information on Sara’s Garden, or to request that a tree be planted to honor a loved one (domestic violence homicide victim) please contact Lee Alcott at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you or someone you know is affected by domestic violence please call our 24 hour crisis line at 1-800-928-1183 to speak with an Advocate.
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