CapitolBeatOK Staff Report
OKLAHOMA CITY – Organizers will host a March the Capitol Against Domestic Abuse rally this weekend to draw attention to all victims of crime, including those of domestic violence, and to offer support to those who witness such crimes.
The event is slated for Saturday, Jan. 24, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., on the South Plaza of the State Capitol here at 23rd and Lincoln Blvd.
The rally also will emphasize the unresolved death of Sandra Stevens, found dead of a gunshot wound on Dec. 6, 2014, after roommates reported an argument between her and her boyfriend.
The roommates say they were sleeping and cannot confirm who pulled the trigger.
Family and friends have established a Facebook page for Sandy and one of the posts reads: “We all know this case needs further investigating and most importantly a PROPER investigation.
There are too many questions left unanswered.”
State Rep. Shane Stone, D-Oklahoma City, together with Carlos Ortiz, named one of this year’s Human Rights Award Winners by the OKC United Nations Association chapter, will lead about 20 separate participating groups to bring a message of hope for the future via upcoming legislation to be filed by Stone.
“Domestic violence is tearing apart Oklahoma and our families,” he said. “On the 24th, we will rally to end the tragic cycle. As a people, we will shout down the injustice and speak up about solutions. Inspired by the Stevens family, these words will be followed up with action – legislative action that will empower witnesses to report domestic violence,” Stone said.
Law enforcement officers in four of the largest cities in Oklahoma responded to almost 60,000 domestic violence calls in 2012, records reflect. That represented one domestic violence call every 8 minutes and 45 seconds each day throughout the year in just those four towns.
Human rights activist and award-winner Carlos Ortiz will co-host the rally. "It’s about time for our leaders to understand that there's a big problem in our communities that affects us, with no regard to race or national origin. Hispanics are an important part of Oklahoma and it is time for us to say ‘No’ to domestic violence and any kind of violence or abuse, including school and cyber bullying. 2014 was a year when violence took many lives in our community, from Luis Rodriguez to Sandy Stevens. We must work together to stop this.”
Ortiz was honored last month for news reports and commentaries about undocumented and other immigrants. Among other work, Ortiz is editor of ‘El Nacional’ newspaper in Oklahoma City, and host of a weekly television program called “Cada Semana.”
Representative Stone’s legislation, which would encourage anyone who witnesses domestic violence in any way or form to report it to the proper authorities, “is a good beginning, and we hope that many Oklahomans will join the March the Capitol Against Domestic Abuse rally on Saturday to stop violence in Oklahoma,” Ortiz said.
Stone’s legislation, to be filed soon as “Sandy’s Law,” will attempt to address some of the legal, safety and moral challenges that can cause those with information to be reluctant witnesses when making the often frightening decision to report the crime and then testify on behalf of victims.