A virtual event honoring victims and survivors of homicide and police officers killed in the line of duty.
We plan to schedule an in-person vigil of remembrance in the future when it is safe to do so. We are following the directives of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf to stay home and practice social distancing. During this difficult time, VSC continues to be available to provide supportive services, comfort, and healing to you and your family remotely 24/7 via our crisis hotline 1-888-521-0983 and counseling and advocacy via telehealth.
Messages from our survivor speaker, community leaders and elected officials who were scheduled to speak at the vigil offer their statements below.
May the love and fond memories of times shared with your loved ones who were taken away from you be a source of comfort. Lives lost to violence deprives us all of love, contribution and human potential. We at VSC will always remember the lives of your loved ones and continue to work toward our vision of creating a society free from violence.
Mary Onama, LMSW
Victim Services Center of Montgomery County, Inc.
My connection to VSC is the murder of my daughter Jennifer Still on July 6, 1999. I was helped enormously through the trial phase and with counseling. VSC is a wonderful organization. I am also here to tell you as a surviving parent how difficult and how long the road to recovery can be. One day, if you are hearing this and you are newly bereaved, one day you will laugh again. One day you will smile again and find enjoyment in small things. It is a very slow process. My daughter was 20 years old when she was murdered and this year it would be 21 years. I can tell you that the pain softens, it is not quite so ragged and hurtful, but it does take time. Anger is present through the process, but what I have found is that acceptance has helped me. And by that I do not mean acceptance of what the murderer did to Jennifer and the other three girls, but acceptance that I cannot change what happened. I cannot bring my daughter back no matter what I did. For me acceptance means not being able to change the worst event of my life. Forgiveness? No. Acceptance that I cannot change the murder of my daughter but for me that is forgiving myself and allowing myself to move forward with my life. It is an important part of healing. Healing is slow but it can be achieved. My take on what has happened to me and you is to seek help no matter what. It can be meditation and other forms of help but do not be afraid to reach out for help and counseling. Let people know you need help. I am sorry for your loss, I am sorry for my loss and hope over time you will begin to recover one step at a time, one day at a time, one year at a time, and sometimes one moment at a time. Sorry that we cannot be together in person. Take care of yourself.