Community Leaders and Families Recognize Crime Victims’ Rights Week with Ceremony
Community members, elected officials, and representatives of local organizations joined together on Friday, April 29, 2022 in a ceremony recognizing victims of crime in Fulton County. The event, which was held on the lawn of the Fulton County Courthouse, also included a re-dedication of the Tree of Hope in honor of the Hon. Louise Sira, former Fulton County Court Judge and District Attorney. The ceremony occurred 13 years to the day from the planting of the Tree of Hope, a project that Judge Sira spearheaded. Judge Sira passed in 2020 leaving behind a legacy and life advocating for victims of crime.
Over 100 people attended the ceremony, which highlighted Crime Victims’ Rights Week, a national advocacy effort to promote rights, services, and the personal stories of victims of crime and their families. The theme of this year’s awareness campaign was Rights, Access, and Equity for All Victims, underscoring the important of helping crime survivors and victims’ families find justice by:
- Enforcing victims’ rights,
- Expanding access to services, and
- Ensuring equity and inclusion for all.
Speakers at the event included Amanda Anderson, Director of the Domestic Violence Program of Fulton County – a program of The Family Counseling Center; Lisa Cimo, Planned Parenthood Victims Advocate, Sherriff Richard C. Giardino, Amanda Nellis, Fulton County District Attorney, Assemblyman Robert Smullen, and Senator James Tedisco. Both Assemblyman Smullen and Senator Tedisco presented citations in honor of Judge Sira and the work crime victim advocates do within the county.
“We are honored to celebrate the memory of Judge Sira,” said Michael Countryman, Executive Director of The Family Counseling Center. “Her work leaves a legacy of advocacy and care in our community. The ceremony also highlights the needs of crime victims and their families beyond the crime itself. Victims of crime and their families continue to need support, advocacy, and care well beyond the trial itself. Our organization works to help community members heal, build, and grow following trauma.”
Other attendees included representatives from Fulton County Board of Supervisors, local elected officials, fire and police departments in Johnstown and Gloversville, family members of crime victims, and local nonprofit organizations who provide advocacy and support services.
**Photos courtesy of Cara Bruno at Local Focus Photography