Our team recently had the opportunity to present the “Guardian of Victims’ Rights” award to two tremendous legislators who have been working with us on behalf of Iowa crime victims for quite some time. You may recall, we presented a Guardian of Victims' Rights Award to Rep. Marti Anderson earlier this fall.
From day one, Rep. Megan Jones from Sioux Rapids has been a crucial supporter of victims’ rights in Iowa. We’re thankful for her willingness to speak with Iowa crime victims and continue to press this issue forward in the legislature.
Sen. Zach Whiting from Spirit Lake has put victims over politics and worked to bring the issue of crime victims’ rights to the forefront at the capitol. Iowa crime victims have come to rely on Sen. Whiting’s unwavering support and for that, they are truly grateful.
We joined with some of our local supporters to present the awards to these deserving legislators. You can see them pictured here -our staff Levi and Sarah along with the Clay County Sheriff Chris Raveling are pictured with Rep. Jones.
Former Dickinson Co. Victim Witness Coordinator and current County Treasurer Kristin Rowley, Spirit Lake Police Chief Jeff Hanson, Dickinson County Sheriff Greg Baloun, Arnold’s Park Police Chief Alan Krueger and our staff person Levi Larson are here with Sen. Whiting.
Thanks again to these dedicated public servants who are standing up for Iowa crime victims. We look forward to presenting even more awards in the future.
Last week, our team had the honor of attending the annual fundraising gala for Argrow’s House in Davenport. If you remember, Argrow’s House and Marsy’s Law for Iowa have been working hand-in-hand to pass a victims’ rights amendment in our state.
We were proud to be a sponsor and attend this lovely evening. It was fun, educational and eye-opening.
We heard from Christian Rainey, the Executive Director of M.A.D USA, Inc. (Men Against Domestic Violence). He helped to illuminate how young boys and girls who grow up in homes where domestic violence occurs psychologically associate that domestic violence with love and think it’s healthy. His organization aims to combat that notion by educating high school students about what healthy relationships really look like.
We also met Bill Jenkins, author of What to Do When The Police Leave: a guide to the first days of traumatic loss. Bill’s 16-year-old son, William, was shot and killed as a part of an armed robbery at the local restaurant where he worked in 1997. Bill was able to help our team see the real-life struggles of crime victims when they are afforded no voice in the legal process. Bill was also an integral part of passing Marsy's Law in Illinois.
One of the biggest highlights for the Marsy’s Law team was meeting some of the women who are employed, making soap and bath products, by Argrow’s House. The women each make $11 per hour and as employees of Argrow’s House, they’re given the means and support to leave their unsafe situation.
It was an incredible night that our team will not forget. The best news of all: Argrow’s House made a huge dent in paying off their $40,000 mortgage on their house! They are still collecting donations and soap sales to help fully pay it off. They make great corporate gifts or gift bag type gifts! Here is the link to the list of retailers who sell Argrow’s House soaps. Thank you for supporting this worthwhile cause.
Marsy’s Law for Iowa
Recently we announced we would be presenting the “Guardian of Victims’ Rights” awards to Iowa leaders who have been instrumental in fighting for crime victims’ rights. We presented the first award to Rep. Marti Anderson (D-Des Moines) for her lifelong dedication to helping advance crime victims’ rights.
It’s only fitting that Rep. Anderson is the first honoree of the Guardian of Victims’ Rights award as her entire working life has been committed to helping victims of crime. Whether it was her time as a social worker, director of the Polk County Victim Services or the founding director of the Iowa Attorney General’s Crime Victim Assistance Division, no one brings more dedication or experience to this issue than Marti.
Our team was able to present the award to Rep. Anderson at her legislative coffee. Pictured here presenting the award is Marsy’s Law for Iowa supporter Tiffany Allison from Des Moines, Marsy’s Law for Iowa victim coordinator Mary Kate Leister, Marsy’s Law for Iowa political director Sarah Shambrook, and Rep. Marti Anderson.
Rep. Anderson said, “Throughout my professional career, I’ve worked with victims, advocates, and lawmakers to establish rights and services for crime victims. What is needed now is permanency and constitutional standing for those legal rights. We cannot chance that a future legislature will take away a victim's right to be notified, present, and heard regarding the criminal case. We must take the next step and pass a crime victims’ rights amendment to our constitution.”
Thanks for all you do for crime victims, Rep. Anderson!
Now that summer has come and gone and all the kids are back at school, we wanted to share an update from our interns who were with us for the summer. These students (both college and high school) brought a ton of enthusiasm, determination and FUN to our office over the past few months. They absolutely made a difference in our efforts. While we are sad to see them go we know they have great futures ahead of them.
We asked one of our interns, Dylan, to share some insights on his experiences with us this summer. If you might be interested in interning with us during any time of the year, please contact Sarah at [email protected] for more information.
A few months ago, I noticed a post on social media about a woman from Davenport who was surprised with the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award for Outstanding Public Service Benefiting Local Communities.
Dr. Kit Ford, founder of Argrow's House, was being recognized in Washington, D.C. for her incredible effort to “multiply good” in her community, in our state and country.
Shortly thereafter, I reached out to Dr. Ford on a swing through eastern Iowa, where I was meeting with Marsy’s Law for Iowa supporters and making new connections. Dr. Ford graciously agreed to meet with me and learn more about our efforts in Iowa to give victims of crime constitutional rights.
It was during that trip that I was able to tour Argrow’s House in Davenport and get a firsthand understanding of Dr. Ford’s incredible impact on the community and the life-changing experience she is offering for survivors of abuse and violence. Argrow’s House is a safe space where survivors come for healing and support. Part of their efforts to empower the women they support includes the production of incredible soaps and bath products which give the women a place to create and also earn a wage.
photo courtesy of Argrow's House
Since my trip, Dr. Ford and Argrow’s House have become active partners in our efforts for victims’ rights in Iowa. It has truly been an honor to work with this organization and their incredible survivors who continue to find new ways to empower themselves and others. As they now lend their voices to our cause, their voices will create positive outcomes for others.
Thanks for reading,
Marsy's Law for Iowa State Director