MVFR would like to sincerely thank Ron Steiner for his work with MVFR over the past 6 years. While not a family member of a murder victim, Ron dedicated himself to our organization as a member of the board, serving as both secretary and treasurer for a year each during his tenure and for that, we would like to say thank you. Ron’s involvement with MVFR began through his work with the New Mexico Coalition to Repeal the Death Penalty, which achieved its goal March 18th, 2009.
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Blog: MVFR Speaks
It's Time to Stop Relying on the Tired Old Excuse That the Death Penalty Helps Victims' Families and Friends Heal
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote this poignant editorial last week about Lisha Gayle, a former reporter for the paper who was murdered in 1998 after interrupting a burglary at her home. Lisha’s killer is scheduled to be executed in Missouri on Jan. 28.
Helene Burns has been a member of MVFR for a number of years and since joining us, has been a wonderful presence. Some of her activities include tabling at events in Austin, Texas, meeting with exonerees, supporting other murder victim family members, speaking at conferences, educating the public on MVFR's work, and contacting legislators. She has written and co-authored opinion editorials in the Austin American Statesman and the Sacramento Bee. Helene's work as a murder victim family member who is against the death penalty has been crucial.
Getting Through the Season: MVFR Member Andre Smith Offers His Story and Experiences of the Holidays
Getting Through the Holiday Season: Handling Grief and Pain During A Difficult Time of Year MVFR Member, Andre Smith, Offers His Story and Experiences of the Holidays After the Murder of His Son, Daniel The holiday season is not always the purely joyful affair it is made out to be, and this can be especially true for murder victim family members. While others are enjoying time with family and friends, those of us whose loved ones are gone feel a painful absence.
MVFR Year-End Statement: Murder Victim Families Applaud Waning Use of Death Penalty in United States
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 18, 2014
The Racial Equity Institute held a two day training in Raleigh this past week that MVFR was privileged to attend. As race plays a large part in the death penalty system and in our daily lives, it is important to be educated on race, power, and inequality. Racism doesn't just operate individually, but is structurally and systematically rooted in our culture. The more you ask why inequality exists, the closer you get to root causes of racial inequality in our society’s institutions.
MVFR’s 2014 Member Meeting may have come and gone, but its impact will be long felt. As an organization that is victim led and trauma informed, holding an event like this reinforced our mission to create space for victims/survivors who don’t support the death penalty to feel less alone and have their stories heard. Her are few of the take-away points from this special day: Each person deserves to put forward their unique story and not be forced to package it in a certain way to fit others’ needs.
A Man Denied Justice and a Family Left Without It: How the Death Penalty almost Executed Another Innocent Man and Failed the Victims' Family
Yet another innocent man has been freed from prison and released from death row, this time, in Texas. Manuel Velez spent nine years in prison, four of those years on death row, for a crime he did not commit. In Texas, which executes more inmates than any state in the U.S., there was a real risk that this innocent man could have been executed.
As members of Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation (MVFR), we realize that this is no ordinary time. With exonerations, “botched” executions, and judges pronouncing the death penalty unconstitutional, surely the world must see what we at MVFR already know. We see the death penalty as arbitrary, cruel and unusual, racially-biased, often wrong and always too costly. We know that what homicide survivors need is what most never receive - support and resources from our criminal justice system to deal with grief and help put the pieces of shattered lives back together.
Having just finished tabling at the Christian Community Development Association's annual national conference, here are a three things we spoke about to those who stopped by our table and are important points to consider when working with murder victims' family members. 1) Murder affects us all. Although it may not occur in our own family, the aftermath of violence and tragic loss hits all community members. Violence disrupts, alarms, and breaks communities apart by shattering our norms, expectations, and beliefs.