BY YOLANDA COWART, The Springtime Club, Inc. Founder
CLEARWATER — Next Thurs., Sept. 25, marks a meaningful day for countless families and loved ones of murder victims. It is this year’s National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims, a day to honor the lives of those taken by violent crime.
It’s also a time to recognize the pain and the tremendous courage of those surviving family members and friends, and to thank the law enforcement officers, prosecutors and others who work tirelessly in search of justice. To many untouched directly by the crime of murder, it is a news headline, but for victims’ families, victims’ advocates, and those working in public safety and criminal justice, the impact is far reaching and long lasting.
Since 2011, The Springtime Club has served as victim advocates, ensuring that victims know their rights and where to turn, and helping to educate the community on crime victims and their family’s needs to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect.
For every victim survivor, there are loved ones – a mother or father, sibling or best friend, neighbor or co-worker – who must endure a sudden and tragic loss. Nearly one-third of American adults personally know the victim of a homicide. Of those, 35 percent say the police never identified who killed their friends, relatives, neighbors or acquaintances.
Many people believe time is a natural healer, but consider the effect of an unsolved case that has run cold. Those survivors live years without answers, with little peace because justice is delayed. That’s why the Springtime Club salutes the City of Clearwater’s Police Department, Division of Criminal Investigation for its hard work on the City’s Cold Case. The Department has taken an aggressive approach toward the investigation of unsolved homicides by devoting countless hours of man power and resources to cold cases.
The City of Clearwater Police Department has reviewed dozens of cold case files, reviewed or re-submitted for testing hundreds of pieces of evidence and done hundreds of witness interviews, all in an attempt to bring closure to victim survivors. Several of these efforts have been successful. Crimes have been solved, families have found closure, and criminals have been convicted.
But, with the re-activation of a cold case comes a range of emotions for survivors like Andrea Bolden, her husband, Clarence Bolden, is a murder victim and a 13 year old cold case that is still unsolved. Some, victim survivors, like Andrea feel hopeful the case will be solved. Others like the Warren Family, the parents of a murdered child that was taken at the early age of 15, may dread recounting the details as if the unsolved murder case happened yesterday.
The professionals working these cases must be mindful of these emotions while, at the same time, they aggressively pursue justice. The advocates that serve these victims’ survivor must be sensitive to their needs, while at the same time providing support with respect and responsibility in a caring, compassionate, and dedicated manner.
The National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims sends a critical and powerful message to these individuals that we, as a nation, remember their tragedy, honor their courage and vow to help them rebuild their lives because violent crime affects every one of us.
Please join the Springtime Club in observing this important day. Let it be a call to work diligently to prevent the violence that destroys lives and devastates families. To learn more about the Springtime Club programs and victim advocacy services you can visit them on the web at www.springtimeclub.org and on Facebook at www.springtimeclubofclearwater.com