William Jenkins was on his second day of work at a
fast-food restaurant when the Richmond, Va., establishment was robbed at
closing time. While cooperating fully with the robber, William, 16, was shot
and died instantly. His father, Bill Jenkins, quickly found that there were
virtually no readily available resources to answer his questions as a survivor
of a traumatic loss.
Bill found some help scattered in bookstores, on the Internet,
and in support groups and agencies. But there was no single, practical and
useful resource written by victims for victims containing the advice and
guidance that he and his family needed following their loss.
Using the information he had collected, he wrote What to
do When the Police Leave: A Guide to the First Days of Traumatic Loss, which
has quickly become an important resource for families dealing with the sudden or
traumatic death of a loved one.
Bill gives workshops on various victims issues for the
National Organization for Victim Assistance; the Compassionate Friends; Fight
Crime: Invest in Kids; and Parents of Murdered Children. He serves on the Cook
County Juvenile Probation Departments Victim Advisory board and is also an
instructor with the Virginia Institute of Forensic Science and Medicine training
officials who work with victims of crime. His goal is to help reduce crime by
providing hope and resources at the critical stages of life for those who so
desperately need them.
In contrast, the death penalty "brings neither peace nor
healing to the injured parties and the resulting upheaval and re-victimization
at all levels of its implementation has far graver consequences than are ever
brought to light," he says.
Bill believes that as a society we are at a point where a
decision must be made. Do we perpetuate a system of punishment that is of
questionable social value and can never be perfected, or do we remove its
traumatizing impact from our criminal justice system altogether? The answer
will in large measure define who we are as a people. He has joined MVFHR
because its dual focus on victims and human rights is uniquely suited to
answering this question.
A professional artist and educator at the college level
for more than 15 years, Bill teaches and designs for the theatre program at
Dominican University near Chicago.
William Jenkins Memorial Website
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids
The Compassionate Friends
What to Do When the Police Leave:
A Guide to the First Days of Traumatic Loss