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Vigil set Tuesday

The Selma Times-Journal

A candlelight vigil and brief ceremony to commemorate National Murder Awareness Day is set for noon, Tuesday, April 4, outside Selma City Hall.

National Murder Awareness Day is the brainchild of the local grassroots victim’s rights organization, Citizens Against Violence.

In 2000, the group was successful in having the Alabama state legislature designate April 4 as Alabama Murder Awareness Day. Later that year, the group traveled to Washington, D.C. to lobby for a national day of recognition.

The group’s lobbying ultimately paid off.

In 2001, the U.S. Senate declared April 4 as National Awareness Day.

Barbara Brown, commissioner of the Alabama Crime Victims Compensation and a member of Citizens Against Violence, joined the organization in 1995 following the murders of her two sons – Brandon Brown and Horace Brown Jr.

Brandon, a sophomore at Alabama A and M, was shot and killed in June 1993 in Selma during summer break. He was 19-years-old. There is a $16,000 reward for any information concerning Brandon’s murder, yet the case remains unsolved.

Fourteen months later, Horace was shot and killed while driving to work in Birmingham in September 1994. He was 28-years old. An arrest has been made in Horace’s murder, but the Brown family fears there is not enough evidence to turn the case over to the grand jury.

Since her son’s murders, Brown has dedicated her life to crime prevention.

“I’ve been fighting a long battle,” she said. “But you can’t give up.”

Brown said the group has invited city and county officials to the ceremony. She hopes residents will make an appearance as well.

“I know there’s been an awful lot of controversy in reference to the violence that we are experiencing in Selma.” In terms of being able to do something about it, I’m just a strong believer that it’s going to take regular Joe citizens to do it,” she said.