For whatever reason, when I think of Octobers during my time living at UVA, I can’t help but think back to the case of Morgan Harrington. While sexual assault issues are very much in the news, I wanted to take a moment to commend Help Save the Next Girl, an organization which grew from horrific circumstances. The Harringtons, a heroic family, returned each year to the spot where Morgan was last seen, not 1/2 mile from my home, and warned local people that a sexual predator was on the loose in their community. They could not have been more right. They continue to be pillars of strength for other families and force people to deal with a difficult reality–that you may not realize what the people around you are capable of. For those of you teaching at high schools and colleges, consider creating a chapter of this organization. Stories like Morgan’s could save someone else’s life.
While I did not know Morgan, I was acquainted with Robin and Mani Aldridge, and I commend the city of Charlottesville for honoring them. To be a special needs preschool teacher and adopt a child from another country, you’d have to be an extraordinary person, and one didn’t have to know Robin well to see that’s what she was.
(And one last plug for efforts to End the Backlog in the testing of rape kits.)