Tokes Family: Please do not allow Reagan’s suffering and death to be in vain

Toby and Lisa Tokes speak as lawmakers introduce the Reagan Tokes Act at the Ohio Statehouse
Reagan Tokes Act introduced at Ohio Statehouse
Lisa Tokes talks about Reagan, need for law change
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The family of Reagan Tokes joined state lawmakers Wednesday to introduce legislation named after the murdered Ohio State student.

Lisa and Toby Tokes, Reagan’s mother and father, respectively, joined State Senators Kevin Bacon and Sean O’Brien, along with State Representatives Jim Hughes and Kristin Boggs at the Ohio Statehouse to unveil details of the Reagan Tokes Act.

Lawmakers say the bill will attempt to overhaul several parts of Ohio’s criminal justice system.

Speaking on behalf of the Tokes’ family, Reagan’s mother Lisa read the following statement:

I stand before you today, a heartbroken mother, alongside my husband as devastated parents and representatives of a family unit decimated by the sheer evil, violence and hatred that took the life of our beautiful, vibrant, kind, loving Reagan Delaney Tokes.

Reagan was the true embodiment of love and light amongst the darkness in this world. The easy path would be to allow ourselves to get lost in the evil and darkness that took her from us and I am sure no one would blame us if that was our choice. Instead, we have chosen to lean into our faith as a source of strength and guidance to act for change, from a place of love that ultimately created our family and brought us Reagan. In addition to this, we have been blessed with the support of friends and partners that are interested in pursuing change from this tragedy too. We know in our hearts that this is what Reagan would want us to do, it is the right thing to do and it is how we can honor her memory best.

Love is a verb; it is an action, it is worth fighting for. Love is a gift from God and it is inscribed on a heart where it shall remain forever. It is because of this love for our daughter that we stand before you with this legislative team to ask for your support to help us in our efforts to get the Reagan Tokes Act moved through the Ohio House of Representatives and Ohio Senate to be voted into law. We have all partnered together to closely examine the flaws and failures of the current judicial process and system that allowed this violence and evil to occur. It is reprehensible that in the wake of this flawed system, violence like this happens time and time again, resulting in the loss of innocent, law abiding citizens lives that have so much positive to offer this world like Reagan did. Look around at her images; she was a person that loved life more than anyone I know. It is apparent in every picture you see of her, that beautiful, beaming smile that would electrify a room when she entered. The kind spirit and energy that was behind that smile, was even more powerful and if you were lucky enough to ever experience it, then you were the recipient of an amazing gift. She left a lasting imprint on the hearts of so many she came in contact with.

I plead with you all today, on behalf of myself, my family and all the other victims who don’t or can’t have a voice, to act for change, so tragedies like that the one that happened to Reagan and my family might be prevented in the future if the current flawed system and laws for the State of Ohio are changed. For this to happen, we need all of you to reach out to your local legislative representatives to encourage them to get behind the proposed Reagan Tokes Act so that it is moved from committee and can be presented as a bill and voted into law. Violent offenders should be held appropriately accountable for their actions and the sentencing structure should be reflective of that. In addition, a violent offender’s conduct while incarcerated should count and if they are not following the regime for reform or demonstrating appropriate behavior during incarceration, there should be consequences. Currently there are none. Once released, parolee’s should be appropriately monitored in real time and there should be immediate action if they violate any terms of their parole. The number of parole officers to parolee’s needs to be appropriate so that when an offense occurs, action can follow immediately. The false sense of security that has been given to the public about GPS monitoring and repercussions for parole violations needs to be reformed immediately, as it is not protecting innocent citizens, but rather the violent offenders and they continue to wreak havoc on the innocent. It is beyond agonizing for us to know this to be true and factual and for it to have destroyed our past, present and future family. It was preventable if the correct parameters would have been in place and acted upon in a timely manner, we might not be standing before you today, advocating for change. It is 2017, technology today certainly supports all I have mentioned, but it is not being used and that needs to change immediately. We will continue to fight for these changes so no other family might have to travel this tumultuous path of pain and grief that is now our forever like ours is.

Please do not allow Reagan’s suffering and death to be in vain, or for her life to become another number in a long history of statistics from a broken system that is empowering the criminals and failing innocent victims. Change can occur if we choose to partner together to promote it. We can choose to act together for change as actions can conquer tragedy. Will you please act today and join us to be the voice for change to the current laws in the State of Ohio that are desperately in need of reform. God forbid if nothing is done and a tragedy like ours suddenly becomes one that might affect you or one of your family members because the cycle just continues.

Our choice to act comes from a place of ultimate love to honor our daughter and hopefully our actions will prevent another vibrant soul from becoming a victim of violent tragedy in the future. We hope you will choose to join us on our mission and we are sincerely grateful to all those currently standing with us that already have.

Thank you and God Bless

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