Rally Honors Late Toddler’s Memory

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Working to protect children from abuse

Jacqueline Franchetti said she was tearing up at all the support and attendees during Kyra’s Rally For Change. (Photos by Jennifer Corr)

Music played, children danced, bubbles flew and ice cream was freely passed on the same day that five years previously tragedy struck Jacqueline Frachetti of Manhasset and her two-year-old daughter Kyra.

To honor Kyra’s memory, and to raise awareness about laws that could have saved her life, Kyra’s Rally For Change was held on July 27 at the Parent Resource Center Lawn in Port Washington. Available was ice cream, entertainment for kids of all ages, motorcycles brought by the Long Island Chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse, a pinwheel making station, live music and Operation Safe ID Cards, a resource for parents to have an ID card for their child. As parents and their children enjoyed the fun activities, they had the chance to hear guest speakers and support Kyra’s Law.

“There were hundreds of people who came out to honor Kyra on her Angel Day, which truly means the world to me” Franchetti said. “It was so important for me to have this event be about children and to have them as a part of this and they absolutely were.”

Kyra’s Law would make the child’s safety the top priority in child custody. The bill would help prevent children from being sexually, physically and emotionally abused or murdered at the hands of their own parent. Such a law would have saved Kyra, who died in a tragic murder-suicide by her father in 2016 after numerous pleas for sole custody went ignored by the New York Family Court System. Facets of Kyra’s Law include making child safety the top priority in custody and divorce cases, an action passed in 2018, and the establishment of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Forensic Evaluators which works to explore the role of forensic evaluators in child custody cases. Pending laws include established supervised visit guidelines and training for forensic child custody evaluators.

The life of the late Kyra, 2, was honored at Kyra’s Rally For Change through messages from advocates and fun activities for children, like a hula-hoop contest.

“My heart is heavy and is also filled with purpose,” Town of North Hempstead Councilwoman Mariann Dalimonte said to the crowd attending Kyra’s Rally For Change. “We are together here today to not only celebrate Kyra’s memory, but also to help create her legacy. Part of Kyra’s legacy through Jacqueline’s tireless advocacy would be to protect other children from unnecessary suffering at the hands of an abusive parent.”

The greatest way to honor Kyra’s memory, Dalimonte added, is to join Franchetti’s advocacy to pass child safety laws.

“Tonight I am asking every one of you to contact your representatives in New York, in the New York State Assembly and Senate, to express your support for the passage of these three bills,” Dalimonte said. “We need these bills passed and we need them now.”

Among the support for Franchetti and her advocacy was a motorcyclist who goes by the name Big “D.” He is the vice president of the Long Island Chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA). He said the bikers were honored to be in Port Washington that Tuesday for Kyra.

“What we try to do is be that positive component that escalates the healing of these children by working with the children, taking them into BACA. We make them one of us; we make them part of our family,” Big “D” said. “We’re just everyday people that will be there for the child whenever they need us.”

Everyone can relate to that favorite aunt or uncle, Big “D” added, and the members of BACA are like that positive adult in children’s lives that they can tell anything to and can rely on for support, 24/7.

“We’ll provide other services that the police can not,” Big “D” said. “If the child is in imminent threat and the perpetrator is on the loose, police are not going to be standing outside that house 24/7. BACA does that. We’ll stand outside that house until the threat is gone.”

With everything they’ve seen, Big “D” said that he and his group are in full support of Kyra’s Law and the other child safety bills that could help protect children.

In fact, nonprofit Kyra’s Champions student ambassador Shayna Blumenfeld, 14, said that she couldn’t see how anyone could not be for Kyra’s Law.

“It is great that the event is for kids and obviously in memory of such an amazing child,” Shayna said, adding that Franchetti is one of her role models in becoming an activist for children. “It’s great to have someone to see and follow in her footsteps.”

Franchetti said she was tearing up at all the support and attendees during Kyra’s Rally For Change.

“The wonderful thing about Kyra is that she’s bringing all these amazing, incredible people together,” Franchetti said. “We have people of all ages. I will also tell you in the crowd are moms and dads who are right now going through the family court system and are scared for their children. And that’s not okay.”

Change needs to happen, Franchetti added.

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