Seek Justice. Ensure Victims’ Rights. Inspire Hope

Seek Justice. Ensure Victims’ Rights. Inspire Hope. That was the powerful theme of this year’s National Crime Victims’ Rights week. A week that, since its inaugural commemoration nearly 40 years ago, has become a week dedicated to the remembrance of victims and the celebration of survivors of violent crime across the country. This year no different and the Marsy’s Law for Iowa team was happy to be a part of the celebration.

We started our week by sending over 100 thank you notes to the brave men and women of law enforcement who work to keep victims safe every day in Iowa. Our law enforcement coalition is such an important resource for our team as we consider what Marsy’s Law for Iowa would mean for the criminal justice system in our state and we are so proud be able to work with officers to ensure victims have the most comprehensive, enforceable and effective constitutional rights. They deserve our gratitude and what better week than NCVRW to honor those who Seek Justice for a living.

 

         

Throughout the week, we also worked with our champions to reach out to legislators about the need for constitutional rights. Though the pandemic has temporarily shut down the in-person legislative efforts at the capitol, our ML for Iowa champions met the challenge and used the next best thing – Facebook! We were able to connect with legislators with their constituents from all over the state to remind them that we must Ensure Victims’ Rights in Iowa. The only way to ensure victims are continually protected is by enumerating rights in the state constitution. Anything less sends the appalling message that victims of crime are not worth the same constitutional rights that those who commit the crime against them are afforded. We also challenged supporters to wear #PurpleforaPurpose and post their purple outfits on social media encouraging folks to join the effort and sign our petition! It was a great experience and brought together Iowans from across the state in this unprecedented time to fight for an effort that has no political party. We are excited to connect with all of our new petition signers in the coming weeks!

 

One of my absolute favorite parts of the week was connecting (virtually) for our monthly survivor coalition meeting. This month, we heard from experts on our national team about how Marsy’s Law fits into the larger victims’ rights movement and what successes have happened recently across the country. We got an update on the big win that happened just across Iowa’s NE border in Wisconsin and also heard of the amazing work happening in Kentucky to move toward the ballot in November.

 

We discussed ideas for forward movement in Iowa and heard stories about personal struggles and triumphs with the criminal justice system. It was an inspiring evening and one I look forward to continuing each month. The survivors of violent crime who bravely come forward to share their often horrific stories with complete strangers, in an effort to ensure that no future Iowan should endure the added trauma of a broken criminal justice system is my motivation to continue this fight. They Inspire Hope in me, in our team and in the rest of the state daily and the commemoration of this week is about them, for them and only possible because of their strength. I am forever indebted to their courage and we truly could not move this movement forward without their ongoing support and commitment to this cause.

 

Thank you will never be enough.

 

Sarah Shambrook

Marsy's Law for Iowa Political Director

sshambrook@marsyslaw.us