November 15, 2012

NCVLI Board Member Spotlight: Candace Newland-Holley

Board member Candace Newland-Holley shares why she first became involved with NCVLI and what continues to motivate her involvement in victims’ rights.

The compassionate, devoted members of NCVLI’s Board of Directors come from all walks of life, and many bring the perspective of personal experience with victimization to their work for victims.  In this NCVLI Board Member Spotlight, we aim to share with the community a glimpse into the insights of the people working behind the scenes to help shape NCVLI’s work for victims.

Board member Candace Newland-Holley shares why she first became involved with NCVLI and what continues to motivate her involvement in victims’ rights.

“We all are formed and fashioned by significant events which happen either to us or to those people whom we know,  love or care.  As a girl in my teens, a stranger assaulted me.  Although not “penetrated”, the event robbed me of the innocence of my youth. I know firsthand what a victim feels like when they have been violated, when they do not receive counseling at the time, and when their perpetrator is not found or brought to justice.  Recovery takes time and professional counseling to reshape a new world.”

Why did you first get interested in working with NCVLI and victim’s rights?
From my introduction, you know that victim’s rights interest was developed personally in me by fourteen years old, although I didn’t have the words then to speak my story.  When I selected a profession, it was to become a teacher of young children at the elementary level, to mentor, educate and protect them.  Later as a principal, I was involved with even more children from all socio-economic levels who needed special guidance and nurturance.  Throughout my professional career I learned how child physical, sexual and emotional abuse, domestic violence, and neglect severely harm our youth and demand our attention to help heal the youngest members of our society.

I was delighted to be invited to join the NCVLI Board in 2009, and appreciated the ability to bring my years of educational experience to the magnificent legal staff and Board.  I was especially pleased to work professionally with Carl Davis who I had admired for years.

As an organization, what is NCVLI’s  greatest strength?
I believe that the strength of NCVLI has three pillars: focusing important legal work for crime victims that needs to be accomplished in America; attracting and retaining a remarkably talented staff;  and the exemplary leadership with Director Meg Garvin.  NCVLI is comprised of brilliant attorneys whose compassion and sensitivity to victims of crime makes them remarkable leaders in their field.  This intelligence and compassion draws exemplary individuals to the staff and the Board, and allows the staff to network effectively throughout the United States, setting up offices in many states, influencing judges and remarkably shaping victim legislation.  Each of the Board members are phenomenal leaders whose personal stories drive their passion for the work.

What motivates you to do the work on the Board?
There are two primary motivators for me to work on the NCVLI Board:  My own personal experiences with crime, both as a teenage girl and later as a teacher and principal; and the professional expertise of the staff.  I want all child victims to have the legal representation that I didn’t have, and also receive counseling support immediately.  The NCVLI staff members all have the highest ethics, skill and compassion to create a difference for crime victims and effectively change legislation in America.  They are doing the work that they set out to do, they are effectively training others on crime victimization, and the message is spreading throughout the country.  It is thrilling to be part of such a remarkably effective organization.  Each day I am reminded of stories of children and adults who are have been victimized by crime, and are being helped within a legal system that now gives them their voice.  When I attend the NCVLI Annual Conference, I am privileged to meet and listen to remarkable men and women who have changed their personal narrative from one of victimization to phenomenal strength, hope and courage.

What one thing has surprised you or have you learned about victim’s rights since you started your board service?
I was initially shocked that family members who had lost one of their children, parents or sibling were excluded often from court proceedings, expecting their emotion would be distracting to a trial.  I am thrilled that a parent or family member can now have a voice within our legal system.  I am particularly grateful for the protection and nurturance of children who have been victimized by others.  I am especially intrigued by the structure of the Native American tribal system that allows the crime victim to address the community and let them know what they need for recovery.

Why should someone else get involved with NCVLI and victims’ rights?
As a society who cares about each individual member, we must gather together and lift up the most vulnerable people in our midst.  I remember reading once that we are no stronger as a society than our weakest member.  All of us have met people who have been victimized – sometimes they are members of our own families, our friends, in our neighborhood, our schools, and our community at large.  Victimization hurts us all, individually and collectively.  I believe strongly that all Americans must work together to champion victim’s rights. There is no better organization than NCVLI to place our trust to support and guide us through the journey.