DOJ Press Release letterhead

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WASHINGTON – Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. announced today that the Department of Justice is awarding more than $1.3 million in Recovery Act formula grants for the District of Columbia's state victim assistance and victim compensation programs. The Attorney General made the announcement in his remarks at the National Crime Victims' Rights Week Awards Ceremony where he also recognized Kenneth Barnes of Washington, DC, for his efforts on behalf of crime victims. The ceremony is a prelude to the nation's observance of National Crime Victims' Rights Week, April 26-May 2, 2009.

"We all owe a debt to these honorees and to the countless other advocates across the country who tirelessly work to protect victims' rights," Attorney General Eric Holder said. "The Department of Justice is committed to protecting victims' rights, which is why I'm so pleased we've been able to dedicate funds from the Recovery Act to assist these advocates in their invaluable work."

Since his son's violent death, Mr. Barnes has dedicated himself to offering hope to many families affected by gun violence. He has devoted himself to reducing gun violence and its devastating impact on families and the community. In 2002, Mr. Barnes started Reaching Out to Others Together (ROOT), an organization to address the impact of gun and youth violence. ROOT's mission is to advocate, educate, and intervene on behalf of homicide victims, as well as to motivate and mobilize communities to take proactive measures to reduce gun violence crimes.

In addition to Mr. Barnes, the Attorney General recognized nine other individuals and programs for their service to crime victims, including the staff in the Office of Investigations at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Frank Marion of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, which received Federal Service Awards.

More information about National Crime Victims' Rights Week, the Crime Victims Fund, and victim assistance and compensation programs is available at: