Wilder School students advocate for change at Virginia's Capitol
By Tiffany Murray-Robertson
In an exemplary blend of academic study and real-world application, students from the Wilder School's CRJS316 Victimology and Victimization course recently made their mark at the Virginia General Assembly. Their participation in the Put Victim's First Day of Action was a significant step from theoretical learning into the realm of legislative lobbying for victim rights.
Professor Brad Lehmann led the students in this initiative, where they advocated for vital amendments to the Victims of Crime Act and the Targeted Need Assistance fund, essential for victim support services in Virginia.
Key to this experience was the involvement of Kate Hanger, Executive Director of the Virginia Victim Assistance Network. As a regular collaborator with Professor Lehmann, Hanger extended an invitation to the Wilder School, catalyzing this opportunity for the students. Her commitment to linking academic instruction with practical advocacy has been a valuable asset in enriching the students' educational journey.
The students underwent comprehensive legislative training, preparing them to effectively engage with legislators and participate in impactful policy discussions. This preparation enabled them to confidently present their cases at the Capitol.
Participating in the Put Victim's First Day of Action allowed the students to apply their classroom knowledge to actual policy challenges, influencing decisions that have direct implications for victims' services in the state.
The involvement of Professor Lehman and his students in this effort, supported by Kate Hanger's collaboration, showcases the vital role of education in criminal justice and social work. It highlights the importance of empowering students to be active, informed contributors to public policy and advocacy.
Congratulations to the following student participants:
- Sarah Jones
- Carol Olson
- Magdalena Ray
- Caroline Wagner
- Ava Wilder