It is Crime Victims Awareness Week here in Mid-Michigan, and survivors, victims' families, and advocates are gathering to discuss the impact of crime.
It has been twelve years since Kelly Grandchamp was shot in the head twice, in an incident of domestic violence. Her injuries were severe, and her family thought she would become one of Michigan's crime victims, but she beat the odds and became a crime survivor. The experience inspired her to become a social worker.
"I have to be the voice of those whose voices have been stilled forever, for those who remain victims forever," said Grandchamp, a Program Coordinator & Advocate for SIREN Eaton Shelter.
But not every story comes full circle like Kelly's did. Rodney Graham still doesn't know what happened to his 17-year-old cousin who was murdered in Lansing in 1995. No one was ever charged in the case.
"It's just painful. Like I said I've been living with it for 18 years. It's just something that maybe I thought if I was there something could have been different. I I just want to be here to help other people," said Graham, the cousin of Nicole Haynes.
And Rodney helps by sharing his story. Crime Victims Awareness week brings together advocates, survivors and grieving families. Hundreds gathered at City Hall on Monday to remember those who were lost to crime.
"It's important because it gives individuals an opportunity to know that they're not alone. And that someone cares about them and their families," said Rina Risper, the President of the New Citizens Press Community Action Network, which helped organize many of the week's events.
Kelly says this week is a time to honor crime victims.
"These are the people who never got an opportunity to become a survivor. I am lucky," she said.