HONORING MRS. MIRIAM SHEHANE FOR OUTSTANDING SERVICE TO THE CITIZENS OF ALABAMA.
WHEREAS, it is with gratitude and great pleasure that we honor Mrs. Miriam Shehane for her determined advocacy for Alabama's crime victims; and
WHEREAS, in 1976, Mrs. Shehane's daughter, Quenette, a recent Birmingham-Southern College graduate, was abducted from a convenience store, assaulted, and murdered; over the next few years the Shehane family was forced to endure shocking indifference through the investigation and seven trials, its presence or participation being disregarded; and
WHEREAS, with a growing awareness that victims and their families were frequently relegated to insignificance by a criminal justice system determined to ensure the rights of criminals, she began to tell her story to legislators; and
WHEREAS, with encouragement from the Montgomery County District Attorney Jimmy Evans, she cofounded Victims of Crime and Leniency (VOCAL) in 1982, a volunteer organization dedicated to improving victims' rights and reducing crime; and
WHEREAS, in the 25 years since its inception, VOCAL has been instrumental in the passage of 23 pieces of legislation designed to protect victims' rights including: Alabama Crime Victims Bill of Rights, Victim's Notification Act, and the establishment of the Alabama Crime Victims Compensation Commission; and
WHEREAS, most recently, realizing there was a specialty agency for every violent crime except homicide, VOCAL created Angel House in Montgomery and later Dothan to support homicide families by providing counseling, courtroom attendance, and crime scene clean up; and
WHEREAS, embracing her grief, Mrs. Shehane channeled it into empathetic service and advocacy for others experiencing a devastating loss; with no thought of personal acclaim, and refusing to be intimidated by the System, she has shared her strength with countless Alabamians affected by violent crime, whether pressing for legislation, supporting criminal conviction, or opposing prisoner release; and
WHEREAS, often called the "Mother of the Victims' Movement," Mrs. Shehane chairs the Alabama Crime Victims Compensation Commission, is part of a Supreme Court-appointed Truth-in-Sentencing group, and serves on a number of committees related to crime victim issues in addition to responding when circumstances dictate that she is needed; she and her husband, Edward, have two children, Jon and Sonya, and are the doting grandparents of seven; and
WHEREAS, Mrs. Shehane has been a determined activist for 30 years, giving unselfishly of herself so that others would not experience the treatment she survived; her efforts have been a blessing to the citizens of Alabama who are indebted to her for her persistence and genuine sympathy; now therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA, BOTH HOUSES THEREOF CONCURRING, That we join with all Alabamians in honoring Mrs. Miriam Shehane for her years of devotion to crime victims and their families, and by copy of this resolution, we offer heartfelt gratitude.