Legislator also presented Champion for Crime Victims Lifetime Service Award

LANSING, Mich. — On Tuesday evening, Sen. Steve Bieda (D–Warren), co-chair of the Crime Victims Caucus in the Michigan Senate, along with Attorney General Bill Schuette, co-hosted the 29th Annual Michigan Crime Victims Vigil, sponsored by the Michigan Crime Victim Foundation.

A time of reflection and remembrance for victims’ families and friends, the vigil commemorated the advancement of victims’ rights and highlighted issues surrounding victimization, and was planned as part of this year’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 2-8, 2017.

“This is a night for all of us to remember the victims of crime, and honor those who’ve sacrificed so much to bring justice for those families,” said Sen. Bieda, a staunch victim advocate who has attended the vigil for the past six years.

According to a 2015 National Crime Victimization Survey conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than 5 million individuals in the U.S. were a victim of crime last year, and there were nearly 15 million property victimizations.

The annual vigil also includes The Crime Victim Foundation’s Annual Awareness and Recognition Program ceremony, which honors the outstanding service of those who served on behalf of Michigan crime victims.

This year, Washtenaw County Prosecutor Brian Mackie was recognized with the Champion for Crime Victims Lifetime Service Award, which recognizes a lifetime of service on behalf of victims. Mackie began his service as an assistant prosecutor in 1978, and was elected prosecutor in 1992, when he created a Victim Services Director position that employs a staff of eight who advocate on behalf of crime victims. In 2015, he was appointed by Gov. Snyder to serve on the Crime Victim Services Commission.

“Due to the incredible sacrifice of dedicated leaders throughout our state, like Prosecutor Mackie, we’ve made great progress in reducing the amount of crime,” Sen. Bieda said.

Other award recipients included Detective Annie Harrison, from the Ingham County Sheriff’s Department, who received the Beyond the Call of Duty Award, and Stella Chivikas, a 28-year veteran of the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor’s Office, who received the Crime Victim Advocate of the Year Award.

“It’s critical that we take the time to honor crime victims and their advocates — not criminals — who work toward a better society,” Sen. Bieda said. “Each year I am honored, and humbled, to be asked to participate in such an important cause.”

With communities annually led by the Office for Victims of Crime of the U.S. Department of Justice, this year’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Week theme — Strength, Resilience, Justice — emphasized the importance of coordinated responses and increasing the number of service providers and communities to respond to crime, and support victims and survivors.