In Nome, survivors will often seek out Lisa Ellanna when they’ve experienced a violent crime. She’s become known for her work as a local advocate and for her ability to help survivors navigate what can be a difficult legal system.
On Saturday evening Ellanna received statewide recognition from the non-profit organization Victims for Justice who awarded Ellanna with their “Advocate Award”.
“She has been instrumental in standing up against systems that aren’t working and aren’t doing what we thought that they were.”– Victoria Shanklin, Executive Director at Victims for Justice
Victoria Shanklin works as the executive director for Victims for Justice — her organization works to help crime victims know their rights and to work them through their case’s progress through court.
Ellanna is particularly known for her whistleblowing work on the Nome Police Department by bringing attention to potentially hundreds of mishandled sexual assault cases. She was also instrumental in creating Nome’s Public Safety Commission, although she later stepped down after claiming the city was preventing the commission from working effectively.
Recently, Ellanna has been working with Alaska State Representative Geran Tarr to change Alaska’s consent statute.
Shanklin said the breadth of Ellanna’s work made her the clear winner.
“It’s just really important to acknowledge the work that’s being done, because frequently we just focus on the negative pieces. But behind the scenes, there’s a lot of people doing amazing things.”
Senator Dan Sullivan delivered prepared remarks during the virtual award-presentation. Shanklin said Ellanna will shortly be receiving a trophy from Victims for Justice in recognition of her work.
Image at top: Lisa Ellanna in KNOM Studios, 2013. (KNOM file photo).