[AKidsRight.Org] July 31 - Syracuse Rally Report/ Support Jailed in Georgia

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From: John Murtari (jmurtari@akidsright.org)
Date: Fri Jul 20 2007 - 14:13:23 EDT

Good People & People of Faith,

This message has info on:

1. Syracuse Rally Report - 31 July (any takers?)
2. Parent needs support in Georgia Jail - please write!
3. Syracuse - Sen. Clinton Petition Rally Plans

1. Syracuse Rally Report - 31 July (any takers?)
I sent out a message two weeks ago (repeated at end) to announce a
firm date for a rally to help convince Sen. Clinton to meet with
parents and start a discussion on the need for a Family Rights Act. We
have a web page with all the info at:
http://www.AKidsRight.Org/clinton -- and a registration form.

How has the response been so far?  Well, this list message goes out
directly to almost 5000 email addresses (and is also redistributed by
others) -- right now we have ZERO takers?

It's summer, many of us are busy.  I've been slow responding to email
because of activity with my son.  Travel takes time & money, and is
it really worth the effort?

What to say?  As many of you know I've made a personal commitment to
NonViolent Action and personal sacrifice to help show the Senator
reform is important.  The event for July 31st was designed to be
'perfectly legal' and give more parents a chance to participate.

A good turnout (and by this I mean about 20 moms and dads) would send
a strong message locally and help demonstrate support for me and
others if future action is required.  I had also looked forward to
meeting some of you in person.

Some would say 'wait', but that is not an option.  As a parent I feel
a strong duty to 'act', and to have the Faith my personal action &
sacrifice has value.  I also know more people need to get involved in
the effort and this is why I always try to get your participation.

When I was 'caught & jailed' by support last year and responded by
'non-cooperation' and got tube fed -- many of you were wonderful in
your response and I am still very thankful.

This is our chance to take the initiative.

2. Parent needs support in Jail - please write!
Submitted by Heidi <thecottoms@hartcom.net>

[ Please read the following and take the time to write (his jail
address is below).  If you can send a US Postal money order for a few
dollars, I'm sure it would be very welcome! ]

> My husband was just incarcerated a week ago on a contempt of court
> order for back child support.  We have been married for 7 yrs, have
> a 4 yr old little boy together, and another baby boy due in 7
> weeks. His daughter is 12, will be 13 in a few weeks.  When she was
> two, her mother took her from him and basically hid her for 2 years.
> For 2 years he never saw his baby and had no contact with her.
> After a long legal battle, and a fight to legitimize his daughter,
> his ex and her attorney father approached him with papers which he
> pretty much signed without comment because he was so eager to see
> his little girl (who by this time didn't even remember him).  He
> signed an order of $125.00 a week, which he didn't make then and has
> never made since.  He has gradually fallen behind since 1998. ...  I
> begged him to go back to court and have it modified, but he always
> said to just let him handle it.  He didn't want to stir things up
> with her attorney father, etc.  So he let it go.

> I became pregnant with my second son, even after we had decided to not  
> have anymore children, his ex found out, and called him cussing him out,  
> said we were worthless and irresponsible, along with comments about my  
> baby, etc.  She started action, filing abandonment charges first, and  
> finally a Contempt of Court charge.  We couldn't afford an attorney, so  
> he took the stand alone.  In less then 10 minutes it was all over, the  
> judge yelled, "Sheriff, cuff him and get him out of here".  He was never  
> allowed to defend himself, never even allowed to bring up the car  
> accident and his resulting health problems which have left him out of  
> work for almost a year.  He was remanded into custody and I was told he  
> has no release date, and he will not come out until he pays $49,000.  I  
> don't have to tell you our messed up legal system.  How can they put  
> loving devoted fathers in jail and basically give them a life sentence?  
> Child molesters and rapists don't even get such treatment...they at least  
> have the right to council and a jury trial, and not even as much jail  
> time....

> He has been in jail for a month today. His address is: .
> James Cottom-xs 
> 911 Chambers Dr 
> Conyers, GA 30012 

> Meanwhile, I'm 8 months pregnant, alone, no income, going to beg the
> government for help, raising a 4 yr old alone, and facing labor
> alone without my husband.  My baby is at risk because I've been too
> sick and depressed to eat or sleep, all I do is research on-line,
> trying to find help, an attorney that will take his case, writing
> letters to government officials that don't get responded to.  I've
> lost 14 pounds in two weeks, my Dr is concerned, and I'm now on
> anti-depressant meds.  But forget about me, since being
> incarcerated, my husband was denied transportation to a neurologist
> appointment where he was to have and additional MRI and CAT scan to
> continue trying to treat his medical problems.  He hasn't received
> any mental health treatment, he was in treatment before being
> incarcerated.  The jail told me he'd seen a Dr on Thursday and that
> THEIR Dr would decide whether or not he needed to see the
> neurologist.  They lied.  He still hasn't seen a Dr.  Still hasn't
> received any meds or mental health consultation.
> He's 3 hours away from me and I'm not sure I'll even be able to
> afford weekly visits because of gas....

> I appreciate your time, and everything you're doing to try to make a  
> difference.  I'm making waves of my own, as many as I can.  I write  
> government officials 2 times a day begging for help not just for my  
> family, but sending articles and documents begging for reform for every  
> other family's sake. 

> Maybe someday, together, we will all make a difference and our voice
> will be heard. We just want our family back together and the right
> to see our little girl that we both love so much. Heidi Cottom

Thanks for taking the time to write and VERY sorry to hear your
message and what has happened to your Family.  I know how insane the
support system is and how cruel the officials can be in making snap
judgements.  If your husband is still in jail, please send me his name
and jail address and I will distribute it on the list so that a few
people can write him - I know that means a lot.

> Thanks for the note of support.  We're still fighting here, though I really  
> feel like it's a losing battle.  Every attorney I've talked to who has ever  
> been before that judge says that he usually denies the hearings and just  
> lets them sit in jail.  Said if it had been ANY other judge, he'd have done  
> 10-30 days and been brought out to work.
> Anyway, meanwhile, we're moving in with a friend till I can get back on my  
> feet.  I asked for rent assistance, and all I got was a DFCS investigation  
> because they said I was in unstable conditions and are threatening to take  
> my children.  That's the "Help" they're giving me, and I'm nearly hysterical  
> trying to protect my boys, they're all I have left in this world.  My baby  
> is due in 4 1/2 weeks and it's pretty certain now that his daddy won't be  
> there, and I'll be alone during labor.
> I'm sure my husband would love to have some extra support right now.  He's  
> feeling very depressed and helpless, knowing everything I'm going through  
> out here is nearly killing him.  We talk every day, but the conversation  
> always ends in tears.  This is becoming VERY hard on our 4 yr old too.  He's  
> been sick all week, stress-related I believe, and cries nearly constantly  
> for his daddy.
> Please pray for us. The Cottoms- James, Heidi, Ty Daniel, and soon
> Talon Lane

3. Sen. Clinton Petition Rally Plans
As I have mentioned before, we have been planning a rally for July
31st at the Syracuse Federal Building.  It is now 'official', we have
a signed permit from building officials, and here is the description:

      "A peaceful collection of mothers & fathers holding pictures of
      their kids and asking Sen. Clinton for help in Family Rights.
      In pairs they will deliver petitions for reform to her local
      offices and those of other Members of Congress.  No shouting or

WHY SPEND THE TIME/MONEY TO ATTEND: You efforts to tell your story and
petitions for reform may have been ignored before, but this time will
be different. Three key points, see below for details:

1. You will personally delivery your story and petition for reform
to Congressional staff for not only Sen. Clinton, but also Sen. Schumer,
and Representative James Walsh.  You will show your willingness to testify
before Congress and encourage them to meet with other groups.

2. We expect good media coverage and this effort may be enough to
convince Presidential candidate Clinton that she should schedule a
trip to Syracuse and meet locally with a small group of parents in a
recorded public meeting.  As a secondary effort we will be asking the
same of Sen. Schumer and Congressman James Walsh.

3. This event is 'safe'.  No NonViolent action is planned, but if
additional public awareness is needed to convince Sen. Clinton to meet
with parents.  I hope other parents will join me in NonViolent Action
(http://www.AKidsRight.Org/checklist.htm) at a later date.  Your
presence now will help those who may sacrifice for reform later.

DATE: Tuesday, 31 July         
LOCATION: Hanley Federal Building, Syracuse, NY
TIME: 10 AM - 3 PM
REGISTER/UPDATES: http://www.AKidsRight.Org/clinton
CONTACT/QUESTIONS:  John Murtari (jmurtari@AKidsRight.Org)

PARTICIPANTS DESIRED: Agree with the goals/approach identified by
AKidsRight.Org (http://www.AKidsRight.Org/approach.htm) App. 20-30
mother and fathers.

BRING TO RALLY: A small placard with a photo of you and your kids and
the message, "Sen. Clinton, Please Help Us!", also three copies of
your story with photo (just two pages). We recommend you include words
similar to the following in your first paragraph, "I hope after review
that you will call for Congressional Hearings into the need for
national Family Law reform and the passage of a Family Rights Act.  I
also ask for the opportunity to be called as a witness by any
Congressional committee investigating this issue..."  No other posters
or banners.

PREPARE YOUR SOUND 'bite': We expect both print and TV reporters
there, have your 30 second reply ready. Don't focus on the negatives,
but on the love you have for your children, the pain of separation,
the indignity, and how we need to recognize and protect our Civil
Right to be presumed FIT & EQUAL parents to our kids.

BACKGROUND: Many of you are aware of my personal history at the
Federal Building, http://www.AKidsRight.Org/actionc_syr -- peaceful
NonViolent Action, over 35 arrests, Federal & State prosecution,
almost all charges dismissed before trial, some jail time, good (but
limited) media coverage. All in an effort to get Senator (and
Presidential candidate) Hillary Clinton to come to Syracuse and meet
with a small group of mothers & fathers about Family rights and hear
their stories.  An opportunity to put our Civil Right to be presumed
FIT and EQUAL parents on the national agenda. A meeting we could
record and share across the Internet.  A draft agenda is at

We also plan on posting your letters/pictures at our web site, see
link above for details.  We know the Senators staff is paying close
attention to these efforts.  Your letters will not be ignored and they
will be backed up by the actions of others in the future.

PERSONALLY: Many of you know of my commitment to our efforts. I try
to follow up my words with action.  Right now I am so fortunate to be
enjoying a summer vacation period with my Son, six whole weeks!  He
will be leaving July 26th.  I hope this Petition Rally will be
successful and Sen. Clinton will decided to meet with us; if not, I am
prepared, and I hope others will join me in NonViolent Action and
accept the risk of sacrificing our freedom for what we believe in

I certainly believe we will succeed, but the path will be much easier
the more people are involved....

                                       John Murtari
Coordinator                            AKidsRight.Org
jmurtari@AKidsRight.Org                "A Kid's Right to BOTH parents"
Toll Free (877) 635-1968(x-211)        http://www.AKidsRight.Org/
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