VOCAL to hold candlelight vigil

By GINNY COOPER / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA—Calera resident Mitzie Wheat first became involved with VOCAL, Victims of Crime and Leniency, after her sister’s murder in 1991.

Wheat, a retired business and computer teacher who taught at Calera High School for over 26 years, serves as the chapter president for the Central Alabama Chapter of VOCAL, which will host a candlelight vigil to commemorate National Crime Victims’ Rights Week on April 7 at Shelby Christian Fellowship in Columbiana.

The group will put crosses in front of the church with names of homicide victims, as well as hold a candlelight vigil and service in honor of the victims.

Attorney General Luther Strange will deliver the keynote address, and Voice for Victims awards will be presented to deserving members of the community.

The group has been hosting the service annually since it formed in the 1990s, and the crowd has “grown every year,” with 80 to 90 expected for this year’s event, Wheat said.

The vigil is a time of both remembrance and action, Wheat said.

“We want to show that we remember these victims, and that we are now the voice for these victims,” Wheat said.