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Remarks of Laurie Robinson, Assistant Attorney General
Office of Justice Programs

National Crime Victims' Rights Week
National Observance and Candlelight Ceremony

Thursday, April 7, 2011
Washington, DC

     Thank you, Joye. As always, I'm proud and humbled to be part of this observance.

     Let me echo Joye in welcoming all of you here tonight, especially those of you who've traveled long distances. And let me also welcome my fellow speakers - the Attorney General, Ron Machen, and Judy Shepard. It's so good to be with all of you.

     This observance has become an important part of our nation's outreach to crime victims. Communities across the country hold their own observances and commemorative events during National Crime Victims' Rights Week, but I think it's especially meaningful that we come together in our nation's capital to show our solidarity with those who have suffered pain and injustice.

     I've often said that all wisdom does not reside on the banks of the Potomac, but I do think we're uniquely situated here in Washington to draw attention to the issues we all care so much about. We have a real platform for showing the nation why it should embrace the cause of victims' rights and victim services.

     The stories of victims like Matthew Shepard are such powerful reminders of the need to be vigilant in the fight against hate, cruelty, and abuse. Those stories need to continue to be told so that we don't forget there are people - many people - who have experienced pain at the hands of someone else. But more importantly, the stories need to be told so that we remember that compassion isn't someone else's responsibility. We all have an obligation to stand by - and stand up for - those who need our help.

     I've spent my career working to try to match our criminal justice policies with our ideals as a nation. And I've learned through my association with victim advocates - and with victims themselves - that the way we treat victims is the best measure of our progress.

     That's one very big reason I'm so proud to have the opportunity under Eric Holder to lead the Office of Justice Programs and to be part of a Department of Justice that values and honors the rights of all victims. Because ultimately, the fair administration of justice - the core of our mission - comes down to how responsive we are to those who have experienced injustice.

     It's now my honor to introduce our next speaker.

     It's hard for me to imagine having an Attorney General who understands as well as Eric Holder how important victims' rights are to an effective system of justice. Throughout his career, this man has victims front and center.

     As U.S. Attorney, he made his victim-witness unit a focus of his office's operations. As Deputy Attorney General under Janet Reno, he helped keep the Department closely attuned to its responsibilities to victims. And as Attorney General, he's been a champion of our work to expand victims' rights and services. I've known him for many years, and I can tell you that his commitment to victims has always been - and remains - strong.

     I'm so honored that we have him with us tonight. Please join me in welcoming the Attorney General of the United States.


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