December 8, 2014

A Reflection on Our History

In reviewing the past minutes of the Crime Victims Assistance Association of Arkansas (CVAAA) it became apparent that the history is rich and well documented. The following shares with the CVAAA’s membership some of those historic highlights that were reflected in the minutes of CVAAA’s early beginnings and which continue today.

The earliest documented CVAAA minutes were from May 18, 2002. Approximately two years of planning occurred before official paperwork was filed with the State of Arkansas in July of 2004. During that two year period, several steps occurred. Anne Seymour, a nationally known victims advocate and consultant was engaged in November 2003 to work with our group to draft goals, objectives, mission statement and official title. This work group presented the draft at a two day conference on May 6-7, 2004.

On July 30, 2004 CVAAA became a tax exempt association whereby any contributions to the organization can be tax deductible. CVAAA’s by-laws stipulate that there will be an annual membership meeting, quarterly board meetings, and the fiscal year is set for July 1 – June 30. Four committees were established: advocacy committee, organization service committee, public awareness/public relations committee, and development committee.

The year of 2005 was a very active year for CVAAA. Max Snowden served as the first elected president while many of the other officers elected in the early years are either retired or moved on to other fields of work.

The first news letter was sent out in July 2005. President Max Snowden had some very encouraging comments. Max said, “Our association can have no higher priority than to ensure that the full measure of justice is available to every victim of crime in Arkansas and across the nation. In that regard, we must work to build collaboration to highlight the concerns of victims in program development, training and technical assistance, and research in best practices, evaluation and data collecting. While progress has been made in the field of victim issues, many challenges remain in realizing the vision of victim rights.”

This is still true today.

The field of victim’s services has had quite a lot of changes over the years. Many of the same organizations and individuals that helped support the organization have also supported the efforts of the Arkansas Victim Assistance Academy coordinated by UALR Criminal Justice Department with assistance from a steering committee of assisting organizations.

The annual efforts to commemorate Crime Victims’ Rights Week have been a major effort of the CVAAA. Over the past couple of years, we have worked hard to rebuild our membership base. If you are a member, we thank you! If you are not a member and would like to join, see the membership form. We will continue with your help to expand and continue our efforts and stand up and speak out for the rights of all victims of crime. It is imperative that we work together to ensure that all victims of crime are served and provided resources that enable them to heal, survive, thrive, and move forward.

Roberta Sick, CVAAA Board President, 2014-2016
Charlene S. James, CVAAA Board President, 2012-2014
Kenny Wilkerson, CVAAA Board President, 2008-2014
Max Snowden, CVAAA Board President, 2004-2008