2010 Director’s Community Leadership Awards
|Linda J. Walker
Linda J. Walker is a tireless advocate for women and children. In 2003, her daughter, Dru, was kidnapped from a mall parking lot in North Dakota. Nearly five months later, Dru’s body was discovered in a ravine in Minnesota. Her murderer, who had recently been released after serving 23 years for attempted kidnapping and assault, has since been convicted and sentenced to death.
After her daughter’s death, Ms. Walker began speaking across the country against violence toward women and children, raising awareness and rallying support for legislation.
In 2004, Senator Byron Dorgan and Representative Earl Pomeroy sponsored Dru’s Law, which created a national sexual offenders database. After years of hard work, Ms. Walker’s efforts were rewarded in 2006, when she and families of other victims gathered in the White House Rose Garden as President Bush signed the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act into law.
Dru’s Law requires convicted child molesters to be listed on a national Internet database. The website is the first national online listing that allows the public to search by ZIP code. Child advocates have called the bill the most sweeping sex offender legislation to target pedophiles in years.
Ms. Walker is a founding member of the Surviving Parents Coalition (SPC). Established in 2007, the SPC consists of families whose children were kidnapped, sexually assaulted, murdered, recovered, or are still missing. The members work together to present a unified voice for effective child protection legislation and prevention education.
Through her work to protect women and children from sexual predators, Ms. Walker hopes to keep communities safe.