he Surviving Parents Coalition’s cross country RIDE FOR THEIR LIVES marks its final stop in Los Angeles with a Celebration and Rally
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. – On Wednesday, September 22, 2010, Ed Smart, Ahmad Rivazfar and Mark Lunsford, each fathers of daughters who were abducted by child predators, will arrive in Los Angeles to mark the grand finale to the “Ride For Their Lives” (RFTL), a cross country bike ride that began in Rochester, New York on August 21 as an awareness campaign for the Surviving Parents Coalition’s child advocacy initiatives.
The celebration and rally begins at 4:00 pm at the CNN Headquarters located at 6430 Sunset Blvd. with the cyclists expected to arrive at approximately 4:45 pm. Over 50 parents of children who were abducted, sexually assaulted, murdered, recovered and/or are still missing will be on hand to take part in the rally which will include speeches, live entertainment, the unveiling of the RFTL’s “Wall of Remembrance” and the release of fifty white doves representing each of their children. Child Identification Kits and multiple resources for protecting children from sexual abuse and abduction will be available free of charge to all those in attendance.
Through legislative efforts the Surviving Parents Coalition (SPC) aims to raise awareness about prevention education as well as legislative progress and promote best practices for law enforcement and communities in responding to predatory crimes.
Hosting the Los Angeles Event will be co-founder of the SPC, Erin Runnion, the mother of Samantha Runnion, whose life was cut short in July 2002. Samantha was kidnapped from outside of her home in Orange County, Calif. and was found the next day, over fifty miles away, by a hang-glider in the San Bernadino mountains. Runnion is dedicated to ensuring Samantha’s tragic death continues to be a catalyst for positive change; motivating concerned citizens to be pro-active in our collective responsibility to protect our nation’s children. She is the Founding Director of The Joyful Child Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, dedicated to preventing child sexual abuse and abduction through programs that unite and uplift our nation’s communities in the protection and wonderment of all children. The Joyful Child’s Adult Education for Child Protection is a partner in the SPC’s Not One More Child Safety Education Initiative.
The purpose of the “Ride for Their Lives” is to focus on four main legislative issues surrounding child abuse and abduction cases:
- DNA Collection on Felony Arrest – to lobby for DNA collection on felony arrest, not just on felony conviction. Currently, 24 states have passed some form of DNA on felony arrest legislation, but there are 26 states that should follow suit. www.dnasaves.org.
- Protect our Children Act of 2008 – a law that gives more resources to the investigation and interdiction of child pornography and exploitation cases.
- The Adam Walsh Act – The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, and the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act set minimum standards for a national sex offender’s registration and notification system.
- “Not ONE More Child” – A Child Safety Education Initiative that educates and empowers children to recognize, avoid, resist, and escape dangerous situations and violence including bullying, assault, abuse and abduction.
In 2004, California voters overwhelmingly endorsed Proposition 69, which requires DNA collection upon arrest for all felony crimes. Strengthening the California DNA program will assist law enforcement in quickly and accurately identifying perpetrators of violent crimes. Presently, there are 309,073 known sex offenders in the state of California and 250,410 personal computers that have been identified trading child pornography in a 48-hour period.
The final leg of the RFTL will start at Home Depot, 401 West Esplanade Drive, Oxnard, CA 93030 at about 11 am. People can register to ride from Oxnard at www.active.com, keyword search “Los Angeles Ride for Their Lives.” The public is welcome to join the cyclists in Los Angeles between 2:30 and 3:00pm at the Starbucks at 13050 San Vicente Blvd. Suite #111. Brentwood, CA on the corner of 26th Street.
The National Sponsor of “Ride for Their Lives” is Limited Brands; the parent company of Victoria’s Secret, Bath and Bodyworks, C.O. Bigelow, Henri Bendel, La Senza and White Barn Candle, Co. Additional sponsors include Full Moon Vista Bike & Sport, Beau Productions, Brabon Justice International, LLC and Dixon Schwabl.
For more information about “Ride for Their Lives” and the Surviving Parents Coalition, visit www.RideforTheirLives.com.
The Surviving Parents Coalition is a parent-driven, 501c4 organization committed to saving children’s lives. The coalition’s founding demonstrates the power of survival and how suffering can motivate people to accomplish extraordinary things. SPC lobbies for prevention education and legislation because they are essential to effective change. Its goal is to ensure young people mature naturally without abuse and emotional turmoil. The Surviving Parents Coalition aims to cultivate support from the public to join as “Friend” members so that together, we can ensure Not One More Child is victimized.
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