Community walks and runs for justice to honor crime victims

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Community members in Kanawha County took more than a just few steps toward preventing crimes in the area Friday, as part of National Victims’ Rights Week.

County prosecutors, law enforcement, and residents gathered for the 3rd annual Walk/Run for Justice 5K at Haddad Riverfront Park in Charleston to honor crime victims and raise awareness of the services offered in the community.

Coordinators posted signs along the Kanawha riverfront that displayed different statistics related to crime in West Virginia, including areas such as rape, homicide, and abuse.


“I think it’s important for our community to recognize victims of crime, to support them, and to honor those who have been hurt or killed,” said Kanawha County Assistant Prosecutor Tera Salango.

Salango said they had nearly 80 participants last year. Dozens of family members were in attendance this year to support their loved ones lost or who have suffered.

At a ceremony before the 5K, a presentation was given to honor victims of crime, including guest speaker Deanna McKinney whose only son was shot and killed on his porch last year.

Salango said they also presented the Geneva Foster Pioneer Award.

“Geneva was one of the most influential people here in Charleston who started raising awareness for victims of crime,” she said.

About 45 members of the West Virginia National Guard were also in attendance at Friday’s event. General Major Bridget Miller said they came to spread their message about sexual assault, as part of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.

“Our theme this year is ‘Eliminate sexual assualt. Know your part. Do your part.’ We need to let our service members know what to do and how to do it in order to stop sexual assault,” said Miller.

Miller said the National Guard works to spread awareness and takes care of victims as they come forward.

Before the event, Miller laughed and said she would do her best to step up her speed in the 5K.

“I’m going to try and run it all,” she said, “I’ll at least make it a couple miles.”

Kanawha County has participated in National Crime Victims Rights Week for more than 15 years.