Columbus – Today, Senator Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati) presented Cincinnati resident Hope Dudley with an Ohio Senate Proclamation for her community activism to raise awareness about the criminal justice system following the death of her son. She was honored with the Social Justice Award at Ohio’s 30th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Celebration held at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Columbus. The annual awards program recognizes the service and achievements of Ohio residents and organizations in areas consistent with the teachings and example of Dr. King.
“I admire the courage and compassion Ms. Dudley has displayed since the death of her son,” said Senator Thomas. “Her work has made Cincinnati and the State of Ohio a better place to live by working to educate the community on criminal justice issues.”
Ms. Dudley’s work on unsolved murders began after her son was killed in a drive-by shooting in 2007 in Cincinnati. Shortly thereafter, she began distributing literature with information about unsolved homicides throughout the community hoping people with information about the crimes would contact police. In 2008, law enforcement mimicked her efforts with a statewide pilot program using posted designed after her bookmarks to report unsolved murders.
In 2009, Ms. Dudley established a victims’ assistance program called UCanSpeakForMe that educates the public on how the criminal justice system works. In addition, the organization holds monthly support meetings for grieving family members as well as concerned community members and neighbors. UCanSpeakForMe was awarded State Victim’s Assistance Funding enabling Dudley to open the organization’s first office in Springdale on her son’s 31st birthday.
Senator Thomas represents Ohio’s 9th district, which includes parts of Cincinnati, St. Bernard, Elmwood Place, Norwood, Golf Manor, Hollydale, Columbia Township, Silverton and Springfield Township.