IWF Chicago member Julie Smolyansky, CEO of Lifeway Foods, is drawing national attention to an issue in Illinois and beyond through the non-profit organization she co-founded; Test400K. The mission of the organization is to eliminate the backlog of 400,000 untested rape kits in the United States. Their secondary mission is to develop an innovative model to quickly and cheaply test rape kits for global implementation.
Test400K held a symposium this week to garner support for the initiative, which leverages legislature and technology to end the backlog of untested rape kits. This week, federal lawmakers responded and approved a $125 million budget to help reduce a backlog of DNA evidence in response to the call to action from constituents.
Julie shared a quote with IWF on her current work with Test400K, “Each kit represents a person, a family, a community touched by violence. While IL has some of the best laws in the country around rape kit testing, what we learned at our forum was that we are at best testing rape kits 1 year after they were collected and that we have 1600 kits in backlog. In certain counties in California and Louisiana they are testing kits in 20 days. We have work to do but I am hopeful we can do it better. We must do it better. We have 3 points to our call to action: 1. Test every kit. 2. Test every kit in 15-30 days. 3. Provide victim notification. We can all play a role in creating a safer community.”
At the time of her appointment as CEO of Lifeway Foods she became the youngest CEO of a publicly traded company, and under her leadership the company has grown from $12 million in gross sales to $109 million.
Learn more about Test400K by visiting http://test400k.org/