Pressing on Through a Challenging Year

As uncertainties around the pandemic continued to alter the state of many events and annual gatherings for crime victims across Oklahoma, we were not surprised in the slightest at how our statewide movement and coalition pressed on in 2021. Month over month, our team was proud to host or partner with victims and their supporters in incremental and meaningful ways, and that contagious momentum will carry us into the New Year. 

We look back on leading discussions with our advisory board member Angela Wiles for Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month in February, working with Oklahoma county agencies to ensure that victims’ observations around technical system errors in the automatic notification process were promptly resolved this past Spring, and we hosted our annual outdoor vigil and silent march across downtown Oklahoma City during National Crime Victims Rights’ Week in April. MLOK Silent March

In May we hosted our quarterly advisory board meeting with guest speaker Toni Scheiring of Oklahoma VINE who spoke to members about state updates and national trends related to victim notification. We also worked with our friends at Oklahoma Native Alliance Against Violence to establish a stronger network and referral system in light of the 202 Supreme Court ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma and then worked with Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt’s office to host a community forum discussing the impact of the McGirt decision on victims, survivors and the varying criminal justice jurisdictions.

Later in the summer, our team also met with members of Oklahoma’s Congressional delegation to brief them on current-day Marsy’s Law efforts, worked with the offices of the state Attorney General, District Attorneys Council, and the Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault to develop virtual commemoration opportunities for Domestic Violence Awareness Month and also participated in a range of DVAM events as the month of October shed a purple light on awareness gatherings statewide.

Lastly, looking ahead to the New Year, the Oklahoma team has been organizing an inaugural advisory board retreat to take place in January and has been following up on a meeting with the new Executive Director of the Oklahoma Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training to discuss ways to increase victim rights notification training for law enforcement. The team will jump-start the year producing a video in accordance with CLEET requirements for continuing education credits for members of law enforcement across the state. Another year has come and gone, but we look forward to 2022 and continuing this great work in Oklahoma!