Hundreds of crime victims from across Texas, including from the Houston area, will travel to Austin on Thursday in an effort to push lawmakers to prioritize public safety and support for victims.

The Houston families will head out from Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church by bus, with everyone on board either a survivor of crime in the city or the family members of people who were murdered.

The trip is part of the first “Survivors Speak Texas” event, organized by Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, a group who describes themselves as a “national network of crime survivors joining together to create healing communities and shape public safety policy.”

The local group of people leaving for the state capital include survivors of gun violence, sexual assault, and domestic violence.

“Murder should not get no bond. My daughter is not getting a second chance. Who’s bonding her out? Who is being there for her?” said Judy Garcia, whose daughter was killed.

Once in Austin, they’re expected to be joined by Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo) and Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-San Antonio).

The group wants elected officials to fund the state’s first Trauma Recovery Center, a facility dedicated to providing support to victims of violent crime.

“I just don’t want anything to go unnoticed. I want someone to stand up, and I’m having to do that. I don’t even live in Houston right now for my safety, but I’m like, I want to come back. I want to come home,” said Brittney Herrera, whose friends were murdered.

“I haven’t dealt with it. I’m still coming to terms that my baby gone. I’m still in shock,” said Nikeshia Jarman, whose son was killed. Jarman said she wants to see changes to the court system, as well as “the time frame, communication, it’s not there. His team, he does have someone on his team that does talk to me, but as far as the detectives and stuff like that, I haven’t heard from them since.”

According to data from a neighborhood safety tracker, there have been 394 murders in the last 12 months.

The numbers show an 8.2% decrease in murders when compared to 2022, according to information from the Houston Police Department.

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