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Alaska Life

Ceremony in downtown Anchorage honors victims of violent crime

  • Author: Bill Roth
  • Updated: April 20
  • Published April 20

About 70 ribbons were tied on the Victims for Justice tree on behalf of victims at their request during the annual tree ceremony in celebration of National Crime Victims' Rights Week on Monday, April 20, 2020. The event which is normally attended by dozens of people was live-streamed and posted on Facebook due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Bill Roth / ADN)

In a little park where Third Avenue curves into L Street, across from the Captain Cook Monument, a small group of dedicated people gathered to hang ribbons during the annual Victims for Justice tree ceremony Monday.

The event at Hostetler Park, home of the Alaska Victims of Violent Crime Memorial, is normally attended by dozens of people. This year, it was livestreamed on Facebook due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eleven ribbons, each a different color and representing a crime, were hung on the tree. Red, white and blue for crimes against those in uniform; black for homicide; yellow for kidnapping; purple for domestic violence; teal for sexual assault; orange for assault; white for hate crimes; mint green for child abuse; green for robbery; red for drunk driving and blue for human and sex trafficking.

About 70 ribbons were individually tied onto the tree on behalf of victims who couldn’t attend the ceremony. The ribbons will remain on the tree the entire year.

Standing near monuments engraved with the names of hundreds of homicide victims, chaplain Diane Peterson said, “Our message this week is to seek justice. Ensure victims rights. Inspire hope.”

Merissa Pimenta and Stephanie Nayen prepare to live-stream the Victims for Justice tree ceremony on Monday. (Bill Roth / ADN)
Anchorage District Attorney John Novak, Chaplain Diane Peterson, Stephanie Nayen, and Merissa Pimenta tied ribbons on behalf of victims during the Victims for Justice tree ceremony on Monday. (Bill Roth / ADN)
Chaplain Diane Peterson tied a ribbon for a victim, at their request, that said ’No one saved my siblings and me, ’ during the annual Victims for Justice tree ceremony on Monday. (Bill Roth / ADN)
Victims for Justice executive director Victoria Shanklin places a rose during a tree ceremony in downtown Anchorage on Monday, April 20, 2020. (Bill Roth / ADN)


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