Here’s a recap of what Free April Wilkens advocates and April Wilkens herself have been up to!
The Oklahoma Survivor Justice Coalition went to the capitol last week, organized by Oklahoma Appleseed Center for Law & Justice in support of House Bill 1639, a bill authored by Representative Toni Hasenbeck (R). This new legsilation, if passed, could help women like April in Oklahoma. The bill UNANIMOUSLY passed out of the House Judiciary – Criminal committee, chaired by Rande Worthen, on Wednesday (you should be able to view a recording here).
The final day at the capitol, Thursday, was a time of not only reaching out to legislators, but carrying the voices of criminalized survivors into offices – including April’s (click this link to hear their voices/stories). For a recap of the events, see these posts:
- OK Appleseed Facebook post here and this post here about the week.
- Twitter thread recap of committee vote.
- Follow the hashtag #SurvivorsDeserveRealJustice
- Toni Hasenbeck speaking during the committee meeting.
April’s Op-ed was published and Podcast updates: Right before we were set to go to the capitol, April was published in The Oklahoman. Later, a version ran in USA Today, the Daily Caller, and other outlets. The wide range of outlets hopefully shows this is a bipartisan issue. Also before going to the capitol, Panic Button podcast hosts Colleen McCarty and Leslie Briggs released an update episode and teased season 2!
For a recap/refresher on season 1’s final episode, see this post from April’s niece.
Learn more about HB 1639 in these articles/news stories:
- She killed her abuser. An Oklahoma House committee passed a bill that could set her free. – The Oklahoman
- Oklahoma bill to reduce sentences for convicted domestic abuse survivors clears hurdle – KTUL Channel 8
- Oklahoma lawmakers push forward new bill surrounding domestic abuse cases – KOCO News 5
- Video: Okla. lawmakers considering bill lowering sentences for abuse victims – Fox 23
- Bill to reduce sentences for convicted domestic abuse victims passes through Oklahoma House committee – KFOR
Oklahoma Appleseed has made it easy to contact your Oklahoma legislators in support of HB 1639. Use their action network portal to write them.
- Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 7th, is the 1 year anniversary of April’s latest parole jacket being denied by the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board. They didn’t even read all the letters we collected for her. They didn’t even give her a chance to speak for herself. The appeals, parole, and commutation process have failed April. That’s why we’re turning to legislation and supporting HB 1639.
- Also tomorrow, another criminalized survivor is up for her chance for freedom. Lisa Rae Moss has made it to a Stage II commutation hearing. That’s a big deal in and of itself in Oklahoma. But, even if she gets the votes tomorrow, Governor Kevin Stitt will have to sign off on it. We are watching how the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board votes on this case for sure! You should be able to watch live online. Learn more about Lisa’s case here. Many will be in-person to witness the vote tomorrow, wearing black.