Saturday, March 3, 2007

A Message from Erin Runnion

Dear Friends and Fellow Survivors,

This letter is intended for parents who share the horror of having a child abducted and sexually assaulted. For many of us, this nightmare ended with the discovery that our baby was murdered. For far too many, we simply do not yet know what happened or where our child is…they are still missing. Whatever the details of our child’s experience, we share a passion that is undeniably powerful…especially when we work together.

Tomorrow, barring further delays, Mark Lunsford will be going to his first day of the murder trial of his daughter, Jessica. He would like to ensure that this last onslaught of national media attention be put to the best use possible – further laws to protect our children and greater awareness of the prevalence of these crimes. Over the years we have all talked about working together and have done so here and there, but never like this.

The trial is expected to end within the month and Mark would like for us to join together to announce a Parents Coalition to wage “War on Child Predators.” We, the parents, have become the face of both tragedy and protection for millions of Americans. It is time for us to take control of the debate over child safety. Before one more child goes missing, and one more parent is thrust into the whirlwind of national media under those circumstances, we believe it is time to form a united front and demand national action.

The National Association for the Protection of Children (http://www.protect.org/) is working with legislators to draft and introduce two bills before the verdict in the Jessica Lunsford trial. The first law is a full disclosure bill to ensure that we make Prosecutors and Judges accountable for plea-bargaining and lenient sentences for crimes against children. The second law will fund the fight against the growing multi-billion dollar child pornography industry. Attached is a one page summary of Protect’s proposal to you for the parents coalition. In short, Protect will continue to lobby hard for these bills all year and their efforts will be expedited with the pressure from the media’s coverage of our coalition. The folks at Protect do not intend to promote this coalition as their own, but rather would like us to use this opportunity to join forces and fight for these important measures.

Mark is inviting us to join him after the verdict, when every media outlet in America is tuned in, to announce our parent’s coalition “War on Child Predators.” After reading the summary please let me know:
1) If you will sign on as a member of the parent coalition;
2) If you would like to attend the press-conference (probably the third week of March – yes, that soon!)
3) If you would need financial assistance in order to make it to Florida or DC and
4) If you are wiling to speak to the media and/or legislators.

You may join the coalition by signing on even if you don’t think you’ll be available to go to Florida at the end of the month. The extent to which you participate is entirely up to you, but the impact will be the result of our collective representation of the reality of these crimes.

Thank you for taking the time to consider this proposal. This could be a historic step for the cause of child protection.
Warmest regards,
Erin

Erin Runnion
Samantha’s Mother and Founding Director
The Joyful Child Foundation - In Memory of Samantha Runnion
PO Box 12680
Westminster, CA 92685
http://www.thejoyfulchild.org/

"BE BRAVE"

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