Remembering Murder Victims

National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims

As we mark the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims, we honor the memories of murder victims and recognize the impact of homicide on surviving family members and loved ones.

When the  the U.S. Senate adopted a resolution in 2007 recognizing the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims they took a step in recognizing the impact of murder on surviving family members and provided a way to honor the memory of victims. Each year some 15,000 more family members are added to the unfortunately long list of homicide victims n the United State. Untold numbers of mothers, fathers, children, brothers, sisters, friends, co-workers, and neighbors saw their lives forever altered by the horror of suddenly losing a loved one.

Victim Family Members Speak Out

Our Coalition receives support and guidance from scores of Montanans who have endured the devastating murder of a loved one.  During the 2013 legislative session, 55 murder victims’ family members in our state delivered a letter to our legislators asking them to support abolition of the death penalty.

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The letter explains that families are re-victimized by high profile death penalty appeals and that resources wasted on the death penalty would be much better spent on prevention efforts and programs that support victims.  They conclude that “the death penalty is a broken and costly system.  Montana doesn’t need it, and victims’ families like ours don’t want it.”

Are you the family member of a homicide victim?  We welcome your input!  Email the Montana Abolition Coalition today to learn more about getting involved with our work.

A Few Lesson on Being Pro-Victim in the Abolition Movement

Rev. Sarah Beck

Reverend Sarah Beck of Hamilton talks about her position on the death penalty as a murder victim family member.

In honor of the National Day of Remembrance, here are some tips we’ve learned from our murder victims’ family member supporters:

  • Avoid telling family members of homicide victims how they should feel.
  • Utilize pro-victim language when possible.  Acknowledge that amid all the injustices surrounding a murder case, often the greatest injustice of all is that a human being–someone’s son, daughter, mother, father, aunt, cousin, friend–was killed.
  • Recognize that all family members of homicide victims have endured a catastrophic loss and deserve acknowledgement, respect, and restitution, regardless of whether they agree with you on issues such as the death penalty.
  • Remember that the abolition movement is a pro-victim movement.  We advocate for policies that prevent violence, provide support to grieving family members, and honor the memory of murdered loved ones.