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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

It’s time to stop the violence and begin the healing

Letter to the Editor
The Valley Time News
October 11, 1994

Dear Editor:
    Throughout our nation, crime is a major concern.  In Chambers County, we have experienced outrage and grief upon hearing that people we’ve known, or heard about, have been killed.  Anti-crime legislation has increased but crime has not been deterred.  How can we turn back to a compassionate society of unlocked doors, of open minds, of open hearts?
    Last week I traveled with some people who, I think, offer some answers.  They are on a “Journey of Hope,” a two-week public education tour in this part of the country.  Though most of their stops are in Georgia, they will be in Alabama Oct. 13 and 14 to share their experiences at Bradshaw Library in Valley, 7:30 p.m. EDT, and at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Auburn, 7 p.m. CDT.
    On Friday, folk singer Charlie King will give a Journey of Hope concert and a member of a murder victim family will speak at Behind the Glass in Auburn, 8 p.m. CDT.
    The experiences vary, but all have gone through emotions of rage and despair, and all have been able to find healing.
    The featured speaker will be George White of Montgomery, a member of the Alabama chapter and national board of Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation.  He describes one experience of speaking to a criminal justice seminar about his work on mitigation in capital cases.  When he told students he opposed the death penalty, one replied, “You wouldn’t feel that way if someone in your family had been murdered.”
    He struggled with the emotions which surged up.  His wife had been killed and he had been shot and left for dead.  Six months later he was put on trial, charged with murdering his wife.  He was found guilty and imprisoned for over two years before his innocence was proved.
    “There has been too much killing,” White pleads.  “Never, never say the state is killing in my name; state killing only furthers violence.”
    The theme of the Journey of Hope is “Stop the Violence, Begin the Healing.”
    I hope local people will take advantage of the Alabama events.  They will give us the opportunity to listen and share our stories with MVFR speakers.  Throughout the current Georgia tour, important interchanges are taking place.  At a Stone Mountain church last Sunday, a man whose son had been killed said he’d always been for the death penalty but now feels differently.
    Locally, let’s begin a dialogue and try to discern ways to “Stop the Violence, Begin the Healing.”
(s) Judy Cumbee