Dear OWC Supporter,
A terrified woman faces a judge in a courtroom, standing opposite her abusive ex-boyfriend, recounting the horrific abuse and harassment she has endured for over a decade. This is not the first time she has had to relive her nightmare – every year for 12 years she has had to appear in court, while standing before her abuser and reliving her nightmare, to renew the protective order she has filed against him.
Over the years, her abuser not only has continued to stalk and harass her, he has served time in prison for violating her protective order. And serving time only made him angrier…so angry that every single day she fears for her life and for the lives of her children and her grandchildren.
After those 12 long years, she decided she could no longer take the stress of renewing her protective order. She called Representative Wade Rousselot, asking why she had to come out of hiding every year to face her abuser in court. She wondered why she could not obtain a protective order that would give her a lifetime of protection, rather than just one year at a time.
She was heard.
Lynne Mullins’ one voice started a movement across Oklahoma, and a new law was passed. Now, Oklahoma is one of only 14 states that provides a lifetime protective order in certain abuse cases.
The Oklahoma Women’s Coalition, along with all of our organizational partners and individual supporters, used our OneVoice to advocate for the legislation and ensure the bill was passed. We were at the Capitol the day House Bill 2396 was signed into law by Governor Mary Fallin.
This year, you have most likely received requests for financial contributions to support candidates seeking elected office, and at the end of the year you will receive more requests to support charitable organizations that each represent one special cause or another.
The issues we are all fighting for, particularly those affecting women, will require continued education and advocacy to help bring organizations serving women and girls together to impact the decisions our elected officials will make in the coming year – whether it is legislation to improve educational opportunities for women or policy decisions that affect the parole processes.
That is where the Oklahoma Women’s Coalition comes in.
As the Oklahoma Women’s Coalition’s first executive director, I have been thrilled to see powerful examples of collaboration between our partner organizations. We spent the past year working with our partners to educate the public on the facts about non-violent female inmates, and the issues involved in separating these women from their children and perpetuating the cycle of incarceration. We received a “Women and Girls Advocacy Day in Oklahoma” proclamation from Governor Mary Fallin and held a statewide event to educate the public on legislative issues impacting the health and well-being of women across the state.
In October, The Journal Record selected the Oklahoma Women’s Coalition for the honor of the Programs Making a Difference award. We are making a difference! Since our organization’s early days, Oklahoma has moved from ranking 9th to 17th in the nation for the number of women killed by men, and the protective order bill we helped pass this year makes us one of only a few states where victims of violent attacks are able to receive 3- to 5-year, as well as lifetime, protective orders.
We have nonpartisan, volunteer committees focused on the entire spectrum of issues affecting women and girls. These committees are gathering the data, writing the issue briefs and preparing fact sheets that policymakers, opinion leaders and the public count on to be well informed. This work is making the Oklahoma Women’s Coalition the go-to organization for public policy and legislative issues affecting women and girls in Oklahoma.
Each year, we have grown and expanded our coalition exponentially; from a small group of 4 women in 2008 to more than 1,100 individual supporters and nearly 50 partner organizations representing more than 100,000 Oklahomans. We plan to partner with more organizations this year and expect to grow individual participation by 20% in 2013.
New organizational partners are joining our efforts each month, bringing with them new and exciting opportunities to pair our organizations together for educational events and advocacy opportunities. A series of lunch and learn seminar events on human trafficking, media, political participation, domestic violence, work and life balance and other issues will be held throughout the year.
Just as it is important to give to the candidates you support, we ask: isn’t it important to ensure the elected are well-informed about the issues that are important to you throughout their term?
Just as it is important to give to the charities you support, isn’t it also important to support the education and advocacy programs of the only organization in the state that brings all women’s and girls’ organizations together as OneVoice?
Your donation before the end of the year will help ensure our ability to develop and implement our free educational forums throughout the state of Oklahoma, hold our annual Advocacy Day as well as create new opportunities for supporters to advocate at the Capitol on behalf of woman and girls in Oklahoma.
How will you use your OneVoice?
I can think of no better way than committing to support the only nonpartisan organization working to bring all Oklahomans together to change the status of women and girls in this great state!
PS: Your tax-deductible gift will help us reach our end of the year goal and make it possible for the Oklahoma Women’s Coalition to provide free, statewide educational programs starting in early 2013!