On Sunday, students, elected officials, and other community members wanted to honor those who lost a child by supporting Kyra’s Law with a Bereavement Mother’s Day event.
Over 100 middle and high school students from around Albany signed up to rally for the immediate passage of Kyra’s Law to help end child homicides in custody cases.
In 2016, Kyra was just 2-years-old when the court granted her father unsupervised visits, despite reports of suicidal and anger issues. During a weekend visit, she was shot and killed by her father while she was sleeping. He then took his own life.
Today, Kyra’s mom, Jacqueline Franchetti, wants to make sure these types of incidents never happen again to a child through her non-profit Kyra’s Champions in honor of her daughter.
“Kyra was a silly, giggling, happy toddler. She was fiercely independent. She loved Elmo. That’s why we have Elmo today here…and Minnie Mouse. And she deserved to live,” she said.
Joan Gerhardt is the Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at the NYS Coalition Against Domestic Violence. She and others are asking for family court reforms with Kyra’s Law. If passed, the bill will prioritize the child’s safety when making final custody and visitation decisions. It will also include providing further training for judges on domestic violence and child abuse.
“Because Kyra’s death was not an anomaly. Since Kyra’s murder, there have been 22 other children in New York who have been murdered by a parent,” Gerhardt said. “And this is something that everyone should be screaming about.”
And the main reason why Colonie High School students like Relaida Collaku decided to show their support.
“I’ve seen a lot of stories recently about all these kids who are helpless and have no one to stand up for them,” Collaku said. “And even if we’re just here walking on the track, it helps spread the message for everyone.”
Advocacy groups and elected officials will rally again at the Capital Monday morning to push for the bill to pass.
“All of our efforts, I am so proud to say, are bi-partisan efforts. We have over half of the New York State Assembly on this bill and a third of the Senate. Both Democrats and Republicans. Because child abuse prevention does not know political party lines,” Jacqueline Franchetti.
Organizers are hoping the bill will pass before the New York Legislature adjourns on June 4th.