LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) -Sunday at the Comanche Nation Complex, members of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women groups from across the state met to discuss the group’s future.
Oklahoma had several, smaller MMIW Chapters across the state, but sought to create one centralized chapter that would connect all of the groups together.
“That way we can kind of unify and that way we’re able to dispense people and information a little bit faster and quicker to be able to make sure when somebody goes missing that we’re able to get people on there like that,” said Shelby Ross, Member of MMIW USA Team.
Sunday, members of the various statewide chapters met to choose a president for their state chapter, and to discuss several of their legislative bills coming up.
“That way we’ve got one specific person that everybody else in the state can go to, that law enforcement can work with, that whenever we know someone’s missing or has been murdered or there’s any type of situation, that we can go to that one person and they can kind of disperse that information out to everybody," said Ross.
Carmen Thompson, who worked with the MMIW Indian Capital in Anadarko, was selected as the first president.
“I’m just very honored to be selected to be the one to voice for our MMIW’s for the task force and to be able to work together with all of the MMIW’s, cause we all need the support that’s needed to help our families,” said President of MMIW Centralized Chapter, Carmen Thompson.
Thompson has worked extensively with MMIW groups and agencies to help MMIW’s, but also has first hand experience with that loss.
Her family member, Emily Morgan, was murdered three years ago.
“It’s been devastating for all of our families to have to go through that, but we’re still supportive of wanting to find the murderer that killed Emily," said Thompson.
Now that a president has been selected, the chapter will focus on filling the rest of the board positions, and their upcoming trip to the Oklahoma State Capitol.
“The next step for us is to lobby those, and that’s coming up on February 17th at the State Capitol. We’re asking that all indigenous and non-indigenous allies please join us so that we can go from representative to representative letting them know that we need these bills passed," said Thompson.