National Crime Victims' Rights week kicks off in Biloxi - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

National Crime Victims' Rights week kicks off in Biloxi

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

By Krystal Allan – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - This year, National Crime Victims' Week kicked off with a festival at the Biloxi Town Green.  The Gulf Coast Women's Center for Non-Violence organized the festival.  The goal was to organize an event that would attract all segments of the community.

"I'm having a really good time," said John Rooker, a member of the Boys and Girls Club of D'Iberville.

There were games, a moonwalk and hula-hooping on the town green.  Live entertainment also hit the stage.  The Boys and Girls Club, Keesler Air Force Base, the Island School of Performing Arts and Triage, a local band were among the performers.

The festival also featured vendors who support crime victims through their services.  The vendors included local eateries like D'Vine Soul Food & Catering  in Biloxi.  In addition to the fun, the festival focused on raising awareness.

"We're trying to make a statement that all crime victims deserve fairness, dignity and respect and that's our theme for the year," said Doris Weaver with the Gulf Coast Women's Center for Non-Violence.

A standing wall filled with pictures of those killed in homicides sat at the front of the festival. Judy Massa's daughter, Michelle Kasno, was on the wall.  The 18-year-old was killed in 2002 while closing a GNC store in Gulfport.  Massa is a founding member of the group Forever Changed.  It supports families and friends of homicide victims.

"It's always good to come to a meeting for Forever Changed.  We definitely know the hole in your heart," Massa said.

Organizers hope the community will recognize the need for more people to step up as advocates for violent crime victims and their families through events like the festival.

If you would like more information on the Gulf Coast Women's Center for Non-Violence and their efforts, call (228) 436-3809 or visit www.gcwcfn.org/.

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