Kim Goldman shares passionate speech in Jasper for crime victims' rights week

By NICOLE SMITH, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 4/15/16

Kim Goldman was the keynote speaker at the National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Candlelight Vigil in Jasper Thursday night, sharing the story of her brother’s murder and her family’s strength to overcome the horrible tragedy.

“Grief is not …

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Kim Goldman shares passionate speech in Jasper for crime victims' rights week

Posted

Kim Goldman was the keynote speaker at the National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Candlelight Vigil in Jasper Thursday night, sharing the story of her brother’s murder and her family’s strength to overcome the horrible tragedy.

“Grief is not scripted,” Goldman began in her tearful, passionate speech at the Community Health Systems Activities Center in Jasper Thursday evening. “I don’t know who it was that coined the phrase ‘the new normal.’ Once your life is devastated by losing a loved one, it never returns to a state of normalcy. You create a new way to live and you embrace the life that you never wanted, at least that’s how I try to practice my life.”

Kim is the sister of Ron Goldman, who was murdered along with Nicole Brown Simpson, the ex-wife of famed football player O. J. Simpson, on June 12, 1994, in the Brentwood community of Los Angeles.

Since her brother’s death, Goldman has been a victims’ rights advocate, speaking out about Ron Goldman’s death and delivering a message of hope to other violent crime victims.

Goldman says she was in her last semester of college at the time of her brother’s death, and was working on the day a media storm erupted, as reports trickled in about the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson. Initially, the second victim, Ron, had not been identified.

“I had been in and out of the break room all day, watching the news, seeing this body being wheeled away from the crime scene, covered up by a sheet,” Goldman said, taking a long pause, “not knowing that that was my brother under there.”

Later that evening, after a call from her father who shared of Ron’s passing, Goldman got on a plane from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

“I remember coming off the plane and seeing my dad, this stoic, strong, hero of a man ... barely able to speak,” she said.

Goldman learned her brother had been stabbed five times and had over 30 defensive wounds, and it was determined Goldman was alive for roughly a minute after the brutal attack — one minute that Kim Goldman has envisioned numerous times.

“That vision of my brother, laying there with his eyes open, has haunted me, because I wonder what he was thinking about in those last minutes. I’ve often wondered if he thought of me, if he thought of my dad,” she said, adding that after years of observing the legal process and never seeing justice served for her brother, she decided to do something in his honor.

“Years after my brother died, I got the courage to take a stand and try to get more involved, and try to do something with what I thought at the time was a burden,” Goldman said. “I’m fighting because I think it’s important that we stick up for our loved ones. It’s important that we are their voice, because they don’t have them anymore.”

She continued, “I made a promise to my brother that we’re two peas in a pod, that we would always be there for each other. I feel like I would let him down, I would let myself down and I would let my son down if I didn’t do all that I could. ... I appreciate you all inviting me into your community and giving me a chance to feel what I feel and not be told that I should move on, that I should get over it.”

Since her brother’s death, Goldman has went on to be the executive director of The Youth Project, a nonprofit that provides counseling, crisis intervention and other services to teenagers, free of charge. Goldman travels the country to deliver speeches as a victims’ rights advocate, and she recently authored the book “Media Circus,” which details the stories of crime victims.

Prior to Goldman’s speech, victim advocate Doug Gissendaner spoke about the murder of his son, Douglas Gissendaner, on Feb. 7, 1997.

After detailing the story of his son’s death, his daughter shared a message with the crowd, encouraging violent crime victims to find someone to talk to and never go through the journey of losing a loved one alone.

“It’s another thing to lose someone so violently and to know it was premeditated, that it was senseless, and it did not have to happen. ... It’s difficult to process,” she said.

District Attorney Bill Adair, whose father was murdered, also addressed the crowd and recognized investigators and others who play a key role in the victims’ rights community.