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Million Dad March / July 4th and Rights

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From: John Murtari (
Date: Thu Jul 10 2003 - 19:42:38 EDT

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Good People & People of Faith:

This message contains:
1. The National PLC Meeting - what happened?
2. The Million Dad March - what happened?
3. Join reform effort in Michigan. 
4. The 4th Of July - what makes a human right?
5. The Mail Bag - some of your messages.

1. The National PLC Meeting - what happened?
A total of three group leaders had a discussion about goals. Jeff
Golden from FACE (, David Roberts
from ACFC (, and me (John Murtari from
AKidsRight.Org). Jeff knew quite a bit of history and the
alphabet soup of groups involved in reform both in the past and
now.  This history is certainly not complete and we welcome your 

1970's - The National Congress of Fathers and Children, NCFC
       - involvement of author Warren Farrell

1980's - The Children's Rights Council, CRC (
       - involvement of retired lawyer David Levy, hosts conferences.

       - American Father's Coalition, AFC (no longer active?)
       - involvement of Stuart Miller.

1990's - American Coalition for Fathers & Children, ACFC
       - involvement of David Roberts, hosted Father's Day celebration
         the mall in Washington, summer of 2002.

       - Fathers and Children Equality of New Jersey, FACE
       - involvement of Jeff Golden.

       - Fathers Awareness Rights and Custody Equality, FARCE
       - involvement of David Wilson, one of the first to picket at
the US Capitol,
         began the yearly tradition of Washington events.

       - Alliance for Non-Custodial Parents Rights, ANCPR
       - involvement of Lowell Jaks.

It was surprising how vague some of the goals are after you get past
better equality and less government interference in family life.  The
issue of relocation is especially difficult?  Is alternating the kids
once/year really being an involved parent?  It's nice to talk about
more mediation, but what is the "default" when the parent's just don't
agree.  Is it up for grabs? Does the mediator's decision take the
place of the Judge?

Is control over your family a "state's rights" issue?  Is "family" a
right reserved to the people?  Does it make sense that basic issues of
family are different depending in what state you live in?

2. The Million Dad March - what happened?

-- From John Murtari (jmurtari@AKidsRight.Org)

The people were gathered in the lawn by the West Capitol steps. I
guess there were about 150-200 people there talking in small groups.
There were speakers addressing the group, but very few people seemed
to be listening (myself included).  Most were talking among
themselves, about recent events, or just catching up on the past year.
I left at about 3pm.  The "march" was scheduled to begin later, but it
appears not to have happened due to the low turnout.  It was suppose
to go from the Capitol to the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial (but there
was some controversy about that).

I send the following message to a few of the folks involved and you
can read their responses below.  Your inputs are also welcome:

It was good to meet the people who were there -- I feel like I am
going to an old class reunion more than a rally.

I'm beginning to think that maybe that using big names like "Million
Dads March" at this point is short cutting the process.  People are
thinking of big marches from the past and figuring if we have a big
event in DC we have a movement -- but I guess you can't have the big
event in DC until you have folks around the country really active in a
movement and activity and press coverage of that activity.

I had a chance to ask a few of the long-time leaders I met what their
concrete goal was for reform, what law would reflect their desires and
fix the system -- and I was surprised that I didn't get any concrete
answers other than less government involvement, more mediation.

Everyone talks about "rights" -- but it seems we haven't put the
pieces together.  Starting with what you thing your "rights" are,
define some clear goals and concrete laws that recognize and protect
those rights?

I'm look for some thoughts to share with the folks on the list.  Let
me know what you think.


--- Keith McLeod <> writes:

> Very happy to talk with you about it. I have a number of
> thoughts. (Yes, for us it's more like a reunion.}

> I'd brought a friend along who'd been a victim of PAS and false
> accusations of child abuse in the 1970s, before we started getting
> wise to it all. We arrrived at 12 but left before 4 before any
> march, not able to bear it any longer. What happened to the
> excellent celebration of last year when ACFC did it?
> The hearse was Betty Johnson's (the grandmother speaker) driven down
> from Boston. That had been planned as her gig. They drove down on
> Friday and had some activities on Sat.
> I thought the day was poorly organized and little information was
> ever diseminated beforehand, and what was was contradictory.
> Further, it was lousy. No focus, no call to action, just
> complaining. Most speakers seemed only to admire the problem and
> want to vette their splean, not do anything about it. What positive
> action was the focus? What were we trying to accomplish? Convince
> who of what? That was the reaction of both my friend and I, and
> though I strongly support other men and their efforts, I doubt I'll
> continue to come. Nothing is really being served. No publicity of
> our plight, no plan of action, not even inspiring speaches.
> I know a lot of the people who attended ... and know they are
> good, smart people working for solutions. That was not what we
> saw. The ones who put it toghether where simply full of anger.
> But I have always said that any attempt to use Father's Day as a day
> of protesting our lack of fatherhood will always be doomed to
> failure. Two reasons.  First, consider the Million Moms March in
> 2000. All those (thousands, not millions) of moms parading their
> kids.
> No father would ever do that. No man would use his family or a
> family day or his children for his own political statement. That is
> the antithesis of male nurturing which expicityly strives to protect
> his family/children from these sorts of things; to ease his children
> into the world *on their own.* Independence. Not use his children
> for personal statements as women are prone to do.
> Second, any father is going to make the most of what little
> allowance society and their wives or Xs give them to actually be
> fathers, in whatever little way they can. Not go to a protest, but
> spend it being a father.
> Father's Day is the last day to try to make into a day of
> protest. (The problem is, tho, what day do you use?) ACFC had the
> far better idea for Father's Day: a (pointed) celebration of
> fatherhood and family, by those who've been denied.


David Levy <> writes:

> Seeing your child every other weekend is not shared parenting.
> Every other weekend and several weeks in the summer and alternate
> holidays is about 15 percent of the time.

> You have to have between a third of the time and half the time to
> have physical shared parenting.  A rebuttable presumption for joint
> custody would accomplish that.

> The presumption could be rebutted, but it would be a starting point
> for the judges.  That is, the judges would start with a third to a
> half of the time.

> Did you know that Children's Day falls on the first Sunday of each
> year? It is not a national holiday in the U.S., but it is celebrated
> by many churches in the U.S. on that day.  President Bush and
> President Clinton issue a proclamation every year -- not for a
> permanent holiday, but for a celebration year to year.

> If you want to start organizing a Children's Day rally for the Mall
> for next June -- first Sunday --CRC will help you.  And you can
> probably get some churches to participate.  Once you get churches to
> participate, you start to talk about getting real publicity.

> If you are interested, I could give you a few steps to get started.
> Oh, one more thing -- dads of divorce are still seen as deadbeats.
> We know that is a wrong perception, but that is still a reality. If
> you talk about kids --kids day -- we get the same point across, that
> kids need dads as well as moms -- but we do it in a way no one can
> argue with (a child's right).

--- Thomas Lessman <> writes:

> Our goals were not for 1'000'000 people in DC this year; just
> 1'000'000 in capitols world wide to stand up for fathers.  In DC we
> had about 150 or so between both days.  London, Berlin, and Madrid
> all had great Marches.  Belgium, Isreal, Jamaica, and other nations
> as well Marched.
> My goal in DC was to find leaders.  I found many; yourself included.
> Now that we've had a chance to network together, are you interested
> in working with MDM, ACFC, Shattered Men, NCFC-NH, and other
> organizations towards the Equal Parenting Civil Rights Council?
> I'll have to reply more later on; I'm using the library computer
> until I generate enough income to turn my phone back on.  Wish me
> luck!

3. Join reform effort in Michigan. 
--------------------------------- writes:

> I live in Michigan and can't make your walk. I commend you for
> acting on your love for your child! I am trying to to start a group
> here in Washtenaw County(Ann Arbor) for reform of custody and child
> support.  On June 19 in Lansing we are attending a open forum at the
> capitol building in lansing to speak out. My friend has signed up to
> speak, I am passing out flyers with my agenda for the new group and
> my email.  Do you have any suggestions on how I can get a group
> started here??  Any suggestions will help us. Good look and God
> bless.

>  Denise from Michigan

4. The 4th Of July - what makes a human right?
Many of use the word "right" when talking about our relationship with
out children.  Many people have a hard time defining what makes a
basic "human right?"  Perhaps they define themselves, when people are
willing to sacrifice for them?  How about "life, liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness."  Who would have ever thought those were rights?

This nice little reminder sent in by 
Leonard M Brown <>

                 Tell Me Again About The 4TH OF JULY ...

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the
Declaration of Independence?

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured
before they died.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons
serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.

Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the 
Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their
sacred honor.

What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were
farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated, but
they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the
penalty would be death if they were captured.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his
Ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and
properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move
his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay,
and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from
him, and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer,
Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British 
General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his

He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was 
destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed
his wife, and she died within a few months.

John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their
13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were
laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves,
returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. Some
of us take these liberties so much for granted, but we shouldn't.

So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and
silently thank these patriots. It's not much to ask for the price they

Remember: freedom is never free!

5. The Mail Bag - some of your messages.

--- Sue Rich <>
> Comments:: I am a non custodial mom.  My ex-husband is constantly
> harrassing me for money in addition to the child support I pay
> weekly.  What are my rights, if any?  What exactly is child support
> supposed to be for? Does he not have to be accountable for the way
> he spends this money?

You have some very good questions. I'm sure the majority of
non-custodial parents have similar questions. In my opinion, neither
spouse should have the right to expect money from the other spouse
unless it is voluntarily given. In most cases, the custodial spouse
has more money because they get their normal wages plus tax-free
child-support. Therefore, it is easy for them to spend lots of money
then ask the other parent to pay half. A parent should have the right
to decide what they think is necessary. Then, it is their
responsibility to provide that for the child. In the end, each parent
will pay their share, one way or another.

Keep asking questions and keep fighting for the rights of children and

Kevin Purdy (contact@AKidsRight.Org)

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