Savannah Vigil Honors Victims, Survivors, and Loved Ones
On Saturday, September 29th, victims, survivors, and loved ones gathered at Savannah State University to honor lives forever impacted by drunk and drugged driving crashes. Over 20 victim families gathered for an evening of remembrance and hope, including food and fellowship, presented by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Georgia.
Minister Beverly Davis delivered the invocation and provided thoughtful words of encouragement to families and loved ones in attendance.
Shermaine Johnson, Victim Services Specialist for MADD Georgia and the event organizer, led the Moment of Silence for Public Service, and introduced Maurice Nelson, the regional chapter leader for Alpha Phi Alpha, to provide the Mission Moment.
As an organization, Alpha Phi Alpha leads The Cannon Dozier Project, an ongoing alcohol education and awareness campaign about the dangers of alcohol abuse, including driving under the influence. Alpha Phi Alpha developed the project after two members of the organization from Mississippi, Cannon and Dozier, were killed by drunk driver. Maurice shared Cannon and Dozier’s story and described the project’s mission and goal to ultimately prevent families from suffering from the tragedies caused by impaired driving, connecting in several ways to MADD’s vision of a future with No More Victims.
During the Time to Remember, attendees were invited to share something they remember or miss about their loved ones who lost their lives or were injured due to a drunk or drugged driving crash. Injured victims were invited to share something about how their life has changed after their crash.
The Remembrance and Survivor Tribute Presentation honored the lives forever impacted by drunk and drugged driving crashes, including the loved ones of those in attendance and the attendees themselves. Attendees were invited to come up to the front of the stage to light a candle for their loved ones and to recite their loved ones’ name during the Time for Light portion of the presentation. Mia Edgerton, vocalist, accompanied both the Remembrance and Survivor Tribute Presentation and the Time for Light segments of the program with her performance of Rise Up by Andra Day.
Minister Beverly Davis concluded the vigil with words of encouragement and a positive outlook for victims, survivors, and loved ones as they continue on their path to healing following the tragedy of the crashes that forever changed their lives.
Victims, survivors, and loved ones were invited to mingle and connect with one another over the generous donations of food and beverages provided by community partners and supporters of the event.
The 2018 Candlelight Vigil of Remembrance and Hope in Savannah would not have been possible without the dedication of MADD Georgia Victim Services Specialist Shermaine Johnson and the hard work of her team of 30 volunteers. Savannah State University generously donated the use of the ballroom through its partnership between the Greek Life and Student Orientation Leaders Department and MADD Georgia, and students of Savannah State University’s MSW Program greatly contributed to the success of the event.
Community supporters of this event include Pardons and Parole, Care Source and Youth Intercept Violence Intervention, providing families with information about the services each organization offers and how their services are available and support those affected by drunk or drugged driving crashes. Tables and representatives from each organization were available to discuss any questions with families.
Community donors included Moe’s, Chick-fil-A, Kroger, Bojangles’, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Publix, each of whom contributed generous donations of food, beverages, and desserts for attendees to enjoy. Thank you to Emmalee Walker for capturing beautiful images of the event.
MADD Georgia is grateful to WJCL’s Liandra Larsen who came to Savannah State University’s campus to cover MADD Georgia’s Savannah Vigil of Remembrance and Hope. News coverage of the event can be found here.