During the COVID-19 pandemic, victims of domestic abuse are more isolated than ever. An increase in stress and anxiety may be leading to more incidents and heightened fear. That's one of many reasons Marsy's Law for Tennessee is turning the state purple in recognition of National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW), April 19 through 25.
Marsy's Law for Tennessee is working to strengthen the rights of crime victims in Tennessee's state constitution.
Gov. Bill Lee, House Speaker Cameron Sexton, Nashville Mayor John Cooper, and Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris are among dozens of leaders across the state who have proclaimed next week “National Crime Victims' Rights Week” in Tennessee and in their respective counties and cities.
Every night next week in Middle Tennessee, several area landmarks will be glowing in purple lights as a reminder that crime victims should be entitled to equal rights and protections under the law including:
• Tennessee State Capitol Cupola
• Bi-Centennial Mall Amphitheater and Bell Tower
• Nashville/Davidson Metropolitan Courthouse
• Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge (4/20 only)
• RJ Corman Bridge in Clarksville
To commemorate the week, Marsy's Law for Tennessee is asking everyone to take a selfie wearing purple, to share why they support crime victims' rights and Marsy's Law for Tennessee on social media, and to tag #MarsysLawforTN.
Marsy's Law for Tennessee would strengthen the rights of crime victims in Tennessee's state constitution. Senate Joint Resolution 885 and House Joint Resolution 822 will ensure that victims of crime have equal, constitutional rights on the same level as those accused and convicted of crimes. If passed in two consecutive legislative sessions and signed by the governor, the constitutional amendment guaranteeing these protections would be placed on the November 2022 ballot for voters to approve.
State Senator John Stevens of Huntingdon and State Representative Patsy Hazlewood of Signal Mountain are sponsoring the bill, with Lt. Governor Randy McNally and Speaker Cameron Sexton as prime co-sponsors. The resolutions have broad, bipartisan support that includes co-sponsors Sen. Janice Bowling, Rep. William Lamberth, Rep. Jeremy Faison, Rep. Gary Hicks, Rep. John Mark Windle, Rep. Curtis Johnson, Rep. Harold Love, Rep. Ron Gant, Rep. Andrew Farmer, Rep. Brandon Ogles, Rep. Bruce Griffey, and Rep. Mike Carter.
Marsy's Law is named after Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas of California who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Only one week after her death, Marsy's mother and brother, Henry T. Nicholas, walked into a grocery store where they were confronted by the accused murderer. The family, who had just come from a visit to Marsy's grave, was unaware that the accused had been released on bail.
In an effort to honor his sister, Dr. Nicholas has made it his mission to give victims and their families constitutional protections and equal rights. He formed Marsy's Law for All in 2009, providing expertise and resources to victims' rights organizations nationwide.