D.A.’s Ceremony Honors The Survivors
Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced that his office observed National Crime Victims’ Rights Week last Thursday, Apr. 26, by hosting a community awareness program at the Queens Criminal Courthouse in Kew Gardens.
National Crime Victims Rights’ Week, which annually honors and supports victims of crime and pays tribute to those who provide services and support to such victims, runs from Apr. 23-28. The theme of this year’s observance was “Extending The Vision, Reaching Every Victim.”
“[A]s we commemorate National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, we honor the memory of those who have lost their lives to violence and recognize the courage and resilience of those who have survived,” Brown said. “It also provides us with an opportunity to celebrate the progress that we have made over the years in securing the rights of our county’s crime victims and to renew our commitment to aid and protect crime victims in every way that we can. “
Speakers at this year’s event included Brown; Administrative Judge for Queens Criminal Court Fernando M. Camacho; Sharon Bierria, the mother of 22-year-old Queens native Tyshawn Bierria, who was stabbed to death at the State University College of Technology at Delhi (New York) in 2008; and Audias Sierra, the uncle of 19-year-old Jose Sierra, who was fatally shot and stabbed on an Astoria, subway platform on Sept. 3, 2007.
Natasha Morales, director of Brown’s Crime Victims Advocate Program, kicked off the program by leading those assembled in the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the National Anthem, which was sung by Alexandra Castillo, a student at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria.
The program also featured a solo from local New York singer Christine Solimeno and performances by students of the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts. Anindita Chatterjee Bhaumik, the Hindu clergy liaison for the NYPD, delivered the invocation; the benediction was delivered by Robina Diaz, executive director for Turning Point Women and Families.
Brown presented a $50 savings bond to essay contest winner Alana Tyrrell, a sophomore at Astoria’s Frank Sinatra School of the Arts. The theme for this year’s contest was “The Consequences of Bullying-for the Person Being Bullied and the Bully.”
The community awareness event was coordinated by Morales, with the assistance of Crime Victim Advocates Maria C. Masaya, Sylvia Reid and Jaterah Brown.