Reporter’s Notebook: Homicide victims honored during holiday

ANGELS BEARING THE NAMES OF HOMICIDE VICTIMS were hung on a Christmas tree and a candle lit as each name was read aloud. About 100 angels now dangle from the tree, each representing a loss to surviving family and friends.
THE SIXTH ANNUAL MEMORIAL TREE of the New Mexico Survivors of Homicide was decorated Tuesday night at The Master’s Centre. More than 100 group and community members gathered.
Poetry was read, songs were sung and words were spoken in memoriam to the homicide victims, according to Jennifer McKinney, leader of the chapter for Curry, Roosevelt and Quay counties.
MCKINNEY SAID HER HUSBAND WAS STABBED TO DEATH six years ago. She and others felt there was a need in the area for the group.
“It’s nice to get together with people who kind of know what you’re going through,” she said.
The holiday tradition began so survivors could lean on each other during a season especially hard for them, she said.
“CHRISTMAS IS A HARD TIME OF THE YEAR. Any time you lose (someone) it’s hard. We’re supposed to spend Christmas with friends and family, and if they’re not there it (is a difficult time).”

THIS YEAR SIX NEW VICTIM’S NAMES were added to the tree.
The purpose of the group and holiday gathering is to help survivors and let them know they are not alone.

And to gain public awareness, McKinney said.

“If we could get it to where more people knew (what our lives are like), more people would think about their actions and the effect they have. They’re people, not just names,” she said.

Monthly meetings conducted with a licensed psychologist enable members to talk and share their experiences.

Reporter’s Notebook was compiled by CNJ staff writer Sharna Johnson. Suggested items may be mailed to Managing Editor Rick White at P.O. Box 1689, Clovis, NM 88101. The e-mail address is: rwhite@cnjonline.com