SQ 794 Hosts Tulsa Launch Event, Announces Statewide Effort
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 13, 2017
SQ 794 HOSTS TULSA LAUNCH EVENT, ANNOUNCES STATEWIDE EFFORT
Final constitutional amendment by vote of the people would enshrine crime victims’ rights in 2018
TULSA – Today the campaign for State Question 794 officially launched and hosted the second in a series of statewide kickoff events with an afternoon announcement at Tulsa’s Central Center in Centennial Park. After passage by a vote of the people in the next general election, the proposed constitutional amendment, also known as Marsy’s Law for Oklahoma, would elevate the rights of victims of crime to mirror those rights granted to the accused and convicted.
The program featured remarks from a crime victim and victims’ support advocate, city councilor, a local law enforcement officer and the State Director of Marsy’s Law for Oklahoma. Others in attendance included fellow advocates, supporters, endorsers, and victims of crime. The following statements from the podium were shared throughout the press conference:
Sheri Farmer, founder of the Oklahoma Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children, said: “The news came from friends of ours who had heard it on TV. We learned that Lori didn’t die alone, there were three little girls who had died and that they were brutally murdered. We started our life-long journey in grief and in the criminal justice system. We waited for the verdict and while we were sitting there the judge said, “The state vs. the defendant, case number 16579.” He read that three times, for each child. And that’s when I realized that our child had become a faceless case number on a court docket. And the defendant had become famous. It was a shocking realization, how little victims have in way of people who will support them and their needs. And Marsy’s Law is that chance for us to have enhanced victims’ rights. We need that. I speak to honor Lori. I speak to make a difference in other people’s lives.”
Karen Gilbert, Tulsa City Councilor, said: “There are honest, hardworking Oklahomans who, after having their lives turned upside-down as a result of someone else’s actions, very quickly find out that as the law currently stands, there is not a level playing field. As the defendants in cases are not only notified of their rights up front, but they also have supreme standing in court and have ample opportunities to have their voices heard during proceedings. “Once passed, SQ 794 will provide an immediate layer of support for victims of crime which during those first few days of post-trauma will be paramount in dictating their trauma and recovery. As Oklahomans, we will have the opportunity to impact our neighbors, family, and friends in ways that we hope to never encounter. It is special to see a victim find their voice as a survivor. And Marsy’s Law would provide the foundation for that path.”
Vic Regalado, Tulsa County Sheriff, said: “When I was elected, I took a solemn vow to the people of my district. It’s something I think about every day. How can I better serve and protect the people in the county I call home? One way is working with fellow supporters and endorsers to ensure the passage of SQ 794. We have worked hard to ensure the rights of the accused are not violated in any way. We need to work equally as hard to ensure the rights of victims are also protected. It is also important to note that Marsy’s Law will not place an additional stress on law enforcement. It will instead give us tools to ensure we are doing the utmost to fulfill our vow to serve and protect.”
Kim Moyer, State Director of Marsy’s Law for Oklahoma, said: “What it really means to speak on behalf of people who can’t speak for themselves is a key element of Marsy’s Law. It’s a key element to endow the immediate family members of victims of crime who can’t speak for themselves, to give them rights too. For us to get to that point, we have to pass SQ 794. We have to spread the word, go county by county, and spend the time over the next 14 months talking to every survivor, every member of law enforcement, every victim advocate, and anyone in the community who will listen as a leader, and as a voice of someone who wants to do the right thing. Because we can do more. I won’t be satisfied with a little victory. We want a big victory.”
Additional resources, including an endorsement flyer, logo, state director bio, photos from the press conference and previous State Question 794 announcements, can be found here.
Marsy’s Law for Oklahoma passed through the full legislative process in April, unanimously approved by a final House vote of 88-0, and now prepares for a final statewide vote of the people – as State Question 794 – on the next general election ballot in 2018. The growing coalition of support for SQ 794 includes a wide range of victims of crime and their families, law enforcement, advocates and general supporters of the cause for equal rights for crime victims.
The campaign for SQ 794 will host one additional announcement event tomorrow morning, September 14, at 10 a.m. in Lawton. The Tulsa event follows a morning launch in Oklahoma City earlier today.
Marsy’s Law for Oklahoma can be found online at www.marsyslaw4ok.com and on Facebook and Twitter by searching @MarsysLawforOK, #ML4OK and #Yeson794.