Victory Over Victimization – ML4OK National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Video Launch!
The lights were hot and the camera crew was busy setting up to record video of top Marsy’s Law supporters in advance of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. While we were getting ready for the shoot, it was a great opportunity for crime victims, legislators, and community experts to all cross paths and talk about what Marsy’s Law means to them and the great things it will do to help crime victims in Oklahoma when it is passed.
Senator AJ Griffin took time out from her very busy Capitol schedule to take part in the video shoot. She talked at length about her career helping children in state custody and how Marsy’s Law would help some of our most vulnerable crime victims receive justice too. With her strong leadership and passion for helping children, we know our Senate bill is in good hands as it heads to a final House Floor vote tomorrow.
Marsy’s Law House bill author Rep. Scott Biggs peppered our team with questions about upcoming activities for Crime Victims’ Week while he was getting ready for the video crew. He spoke of the commemoration ceremony he was organizing, which took place today on the House Floor, for crime victims to be recognized with a formal proclamation from the Governor’s office in honor of Crime Victims’ Week. Rep. Biggs was thrilled to hear some of the other events going on, especially what our strong supporter, the Oklahoma District Attorney’s Council has planned. They will be hosting a commemoration event April 4th at the Oklahoma Justice Center, and candle light vigils in El Reno and Enid on April 4th. Details of all Marsy’s Law for Oklahoma National Crime Victims’ Rights Week events can be found on our Facebook page.
Marsy’s Law supporters also passed around a portrait of Alex Vierling, a crime victim whose promising life was cut short when he was murdered in Stillwater in 2014. Alex’s mom Kelly Vierling is a strong woman and amazing Marsy’s Law advocate who has attended Capitol hearings, has spoken at news conferences and participated in media interviews on our behalf. Kelly talked to the video crew about her son and the problems they’ve encountered seeking justice for his murder. She keeps Alex’s portrait with her to make sure everyone sees his face and remembers he’s a real person, not just a piece of evidence in a criminal investigation.
Everyone on our team also got a lesson in the history of crime victim’s rights in Oklahoma from the man who started the movement to recognize them in statutes more than 30 years ago. Mike Turpen, a former Oklahoma attorney general, district attorney and practicing attorney featured on a weekly award-winning public affairs show “Flashpoint” was there for the video shoot. Mike talked about a pivotal moment in his early career when he saw crime scene investigators stepping over the body of a homicide victim so they could get to where the suspect was sitting in a car. It struck him that the suspect had more rights than the victim or the victim’s family and that was wrong. Mike said Oklahoma’s support for crime victims is stronger, but that it will never be equal to those accused of crimes until victim’s rights are in our state and federal constitutions. He calls Marsy’s Law another step toward victory over victimization. We agree.
We hope our video is educational and empowering. We also hope that you will get involved this week, and beyond, with the crime victims’ rights movement in Oklahoma. Email us at [email protected] to share your story or learn how to get involved.