Since her daughter Candace was abducted and murdered in 1984, Wilma Derksen has influenced victims, offenders and the community by telling her story. She’s also had an impact by facilitating the support group for survivors of homicide, organizing dialogue between victims and inmates in prison, conducting training, giving lectures, participating in panel discussions, presenting her insights to the justice system, and addressing victims’ needs at restorative justice conferences throughout Canada and the United States. Wilma Derksen is the author of Have you seen Candace? and Confronting the Horror: the Aftermath of Violence. We are honoured that Wilma will take the stage to speak at TedxManitoba at our event in February.
What motivates you?
I have this huge longing in my heart to understand the universe and the people who inhabit it. I am filled to the brim with questions about it all. I think at the core of my being is a spiritual quest to find meaning in my life which finds expression in a desire to create connections with the people around me. Part of this expression is always about words. I love story. I have an insatiable desire to find the right word for the right situation. This is an ongoing challenge.
What do you do for a living and why?
I work as a consultant for programs funded by government agencies. I advocate for crime victims and facilitate group and individual conversations. I also write and have authored three books. Actually, the murder of my daughter was influential in the direction my work and my life has taken.
Why are you excited to speak at TEDxManitoba?
TEDxManitoba has created a platform to explore the world of communication. I believe words are powerful. Words can lift us up, drag us down, wound us deeply or heal our hearts. Words have the power to transform our world. I am excited to be part of any organization that encourages the telling of dramatic, positive stories with the hope of making a difference.
Words have set whole nations in motion…Give me the right word and the right accent and I will move the world.
What is your idea worth spreading?
Love first, justice second. It is a tiny shift in our thinking that can change the world and the relationships around us. It is as simple as taking the time to express our love to our children first before we correct them, or as enormous as loving our enemies before we enter into a justice-making process. If we take the time to see beyond the presenting faults, to see someone’s gift and their humanity, it will make a difference in how we pursue justice. It might look similar. It might even have the same end result, but it will feel different. The long term results will probably be more promising. I truly believe if we would love first and do justice second, we would build stronger communities.