Activists Assemble in Marietta to Join Marsy’s Law for Georgia Efforts
This past weekend in a Marietta cafe, Marsy’s Law for Georgia attracted a group of 20 activists to learn how they can help to get crime victims’ rights elevated to the state constitution.
The attendees had the opportunity to hear from Elaine and Gordon Rondeau, whose daughter was murdered in Chicago over two decades ago. Since then they have been tireless advocates for victims’ rights. Pastor Sabrina McKenzie, the founder of the National Task Force Against Domestic Violence, told her own story about losing her sister to domestic violence. She was stabbed 12 times by her husband. Finally, they heard from Patrix and Patrica, twins whose brother, a U.S. Army veteran, was murdered while trying to help someone who was displaced due to hurricane Katrina.
These stories brought the issue to life for those present.
As the state political director for Georgia, I used these examples to illustrate why it’s important that we put victims on equal footing with criminals. The attendees learned that currently the accused enjoy a higher standing in the court and that victims are supposed to be notified of updates in their cases and have a voice but, due to the lack of statutory enforcement or constitutional standing, they are often left in the cold. I told them something that shocks many Georgia audiences: Our state is the only one in the Southeast with zero constitutional protections for crime victims.
We educated these future volunteers on the facts of the law and how they can engage. Now that they are armed with knowledge, we encourage them to reach out to their House members – it’s already passed the Senate – and ask for a meeting in person. This personal touch is much more effective than a call or email – though we’ll take that if that’s all a volunteer can do.
This upcoming legislative session is crucial to our efforts. This group assembled in Marietta will hopefully join our legion of volunteer lobbyists as we seek to bring more than 200 activists to the state Capitol to make a splash with House members in February.