The WLWT-TV public affairs program ISSUES has received a first place award from the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists for a program featuring UCanSpeakForMe CEO Hope Dudley.
The program won for Best Minority Issues Coverage. The award will be presented on August 25th in Cincinnati to the television station. The judges comments said: "A compelling portrait of a grieving mother who turned that grief into action and, more than 10 years after her son's unsolved murder, has created a community movement that seeks justice and heals for all.
We would like to extend our congratulations to one of our media partners for their continued support of our stop the violence message. The WLWT story can be viewed by going to our "What's New" page and clicking on the video called "The Tears You Don't See".
IN OTHER NEWS
UCanSpeakForMe has been contacted to extend it's family advocacy resources to the community of Trotwood, Ohio located in the Dayton area. A college student and a basketball player, Elmer Rucker was sitting in a car with his friend when they were both gunned down on April 18th.
"He was a good student. As far as I'm concerned, the perfect child. It's a big loss for me," Elmer Rucker Sr. said.
While the afternoon vigil in Trotwood was a time to be with loved ones, it was also a call for help with his son's murder investigation.
"It's taking some time and taking too long for me. So I needed to do something. I'm asking the public's for help," said Rucker Sr. He hopes keeping his son's name out in the public will help convince someone to come forward with information.
After the vigil, supporters like Hope Dudley, who also lost a son to gun violence, took to the streets to hand out flyers with Rucker's photograph.
"We want to keep his face out there so people would know that this young man was murdered in this location," Dudley said.
With 11 weeks since his Rucker's death and no suspects in custody, both Dudley and Rucker Sr. hope the public will speak up. "Somebody knows something and it can help," he said.
25-year-old Antonio Collins was also gunned down in the car with Rucker.
The WDTN-TV story can be viewed at https://www.wdtn.com/news/local-news/father-pleads-for-public-s-help-in-son-s-trotwood-shooting-death/1274637104
UCanSpeakForMe continues to receive requests from families throughout the southern counties of Ohio for assistance and resource information.
Hope Dudley has worked tirelessly to bring attention to unsolved homicides since her son Daniel "Chaz" Dudley was killed in a drive-by shooting in 2007 in Cincinnati. After his death, she started making bookmarks, flyers, posters, and playing cards featuring unsolved homicide cases in the hope that, by putting a face on the violence, she would encourage those with information to come forward. She distributed her creations throughout the community in churches, libraries, businesses, and prisons. Impressed with her actions, law enforcement officials unveiled a statewide pilot project in 2008 using posters based on Dudley's works.
To further her cause, Dudley started UCanSpeakForMe Inc. in 2009. the nonprofit assistance program is designed to educate victims and their families about the criminal justice system, promote an anti-violence message, and encourage cooperation between victims and the court system. the organization holds monthly support meetings for grieving families and participates in community outreach activities. For the past several years, the group has sponsored a one-day public summit during National Crime Victims' Rights Week, featuring speakers from the criminal justice system. The event unites first responders, judge, prosecutors, and victim advocates.
As part of a recent video project, Dudley worked with the victims' families to assemble a collection of interviews and images to tell stories of the grieving process. Her own testimony, The Tears You Don't See, was featured on a local TV community-affairs program. For her efforts, she was honored with an award from Crime Stoppers.
Dudley exemplifies strength, resiliency, and perservance. She has converted her grief into giving in order to help other victims of crime.
You can watch the Attorney General's awards ceremony at: https://youtu.be/LU4p4gkZiTM Congratulations Ms. Dudley for your unselfish service to grieving families from a homicide across the State of Ohio.
Ms. Dudley accepts Ohio's Special Courage Award for 2018
Random criminal acts happen all around us. We hear reports on the radio. We read it in the newspapers, and see it on television. But no one remembers the victims left behind long after the the headlines disappear. UCanSpeakForMe is a nonprofit organization focused on families needing assistance after the violent loss of a child or family member.
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