Hello All My Relations listener! Thank you for supporting the fight to end violence against Indigenous women and girls. This is a form letter to send to your Senator(s) encouraging them to vote for the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). This is an important piece of legislation that can help Tribes navigate the criminal justice system to further protect Indigenous women and girls in our communities.
Please use the following form email to send to your Senator(s). If you are unsure of who your Senator is or how to reach them, use this link to find their name and contact information:
Copy and paste the below text into your email browser, fill in your Senator’s name at the top, include your name and address at the bottom, and send it to your Senator’s email address.
Thank you for fighting to protect Indigenous women and girls!
Dear Senator [INSERT NAME],
As you know, the Violence Against Women Act expired in 2018 and has been in legislative limbo ever since. In March 2021, the House of Representatives passed the bipartisan H.R.1620 - Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act of 2021. Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced the legislation, which authorizes funding to expand critical programs like victim services, prevention, training, education, enforcement, economic stability, and other efforts that support survivors. The Act also includes critical provisions that specifically impact Indigenous women who experience some of the highest rates of violence in this country.
However, the Senate has yet to act. As your constituent, I am writing to urge you to vote in support of the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act of 2021 immediately.
Available data paint a grim picture of the risk of violent death for Indigenous women in this country. According to the United States Department of Justice, Indigenous women face a murder rate 10 times higher than the national average. 4 in 5 Indigenous women will experience violence in their lifetime, and they are 2.5 times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted compared to the rest of the country. Despite widespread evidence of the violence Indigenous women face, justice for these cases has been difficult to come by. The majority of violent crimes against Indigenous women are perpetrated by non-Natives on Tribal lands. Due to jurisdictional complexity, systemic racism, and indifference, cases affecting Indigenous victims often go unsolved.
The Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act of 2021 will strengthen protection for Indigenous women in several ways:
(1) Provide Tribal governments with greater access to criminal databases, and create a pilot program for Alaska Tribes;
(2) Require the Attorney General and Secretary of the Interior to compile an annual report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women;
(3) Authorize $7 million to be used from 2022 through 2026 on training, technical assistance, data collection, and justice system accountability;
(4) Authorize $3 million annually for Tribal governments to access federal databases; and
(5) End immunity for non-Native perpetrators of sexual assault and other abuses of "Tribal law enforcement officers on Tribal lands.”
This is not a Democratic or Republican issue. Neglecting to deliver justice to Indigenous women is an affront to American ideals of liberty and fairness and has no place in this country. I ask that you vote in support of the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act of 2021 immediately.
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