Marsys Law is dedicated to the cause of ensuring that crime victims rights are codified in law. When it passed in November 2008, Proposition 9, The Victims Bill of Rights Act of 2008: Marsys Law, became the strongest and most comprehensive Constitutional victims rights law in the U.S. and put California at the forefront of the national victims rights movement.
While state ponders Marsy’s Law, Orlando murder victims’ families of color express frustration their basic needs are not being met
Source: New York Daily News / Getty
While Florida considers expanded rights for crime victims through a possible constitutional amendment – “Marsy’s Law” – local murder victims’ families are expressing their dismay that the voices of local victims are too-often ignored and that current resources and agencies aren’t sufficiently meeting the needs of many victims of color.
Thursday’s speakers will include the parents and children of individuals murdered in the Orlando area. They will ask the Orlando Police Department for an official meeting to hear about victims’ and surviving families’ needs in the wake of violence, to express concerns about how the Orlando Police Department has interacted with communities of color, and to work toward better communication going forward.
“When we talk about helping victims, we do a great injustice to many if we focus exclusively on their experiences with the offender and the criminal justice system,” said Miles Mulrain, one of the organizers of Thursday’s event. “Proposals like Marsy’s law, or the use of the death penalty, often claim to serve the needs of victims. But the reality is that victims have many needs independent of the offender and the courts. Those needs are almost never addressed. These include access to resources like counseling for traumatized families and communication and transparency with local police departments.”
Shari Silberstein, Executive Director of Equal Justice USA, a national organization that works in Florida to transform the justice system by promoting responses to violence that break cycles of trauma, says the frustrations of these Orlando victims is heard across the country. “The unfortunate reality for too many murder victims’ families, especially in communities of color, is that they don’t have access to agencies, information, and resources needed to help them heal.”
Equal Justice USA (EJUSA) is a national organization that works to transform the justice system by promoting responses to violence that break cycles of trauma. We work at the intersection of criminal justice, public health, and racial justice to elevate healing over retribution, meet the needs of survivors, advance racial equity, and build community safety.