Martin Luther King Day - BELIEVE in reform and take ACTION!

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From: John Murtari (
Date: Mon Jan 18 2010 - 08:47:57 EST

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 Good People & People of Faith,

I'm going to try and keep this message short.  I went back to the
Courthouse three days last week and used kids's chalk to write on the
wall (the message "Mr. Oaks - HELP FAMILY RIGHTS").  After writing I
went in and told security, then a silent picket outside the building
for about an hour before going home.

Tomorrow, Jan 19th, I'll be going back and writing a LOT.  Let's see
how much they can ignore?  I've included one very "on point" FEEDBACK
message below: You need more people to join you and get involved!

MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY -- I think articles miss the point when they
talk about "peaceful" action, but miss the call for "self-sacrifice."

    "We are American citizens, and we are determined to acquire or
    citizenship to the fullness of its meaning. We are here because we
    are determined to get the situation corrected. We are here this
    evening to say to those who have mistreated us so long what we are
    tired -- tired of being segregated and humiliated; tired of being
    kicked about by the brutal feet of oppression...

    In our protest there will be no cross burnings. No white person
    will be taken from their home by a hooded Negro mob and brutally
    murdered. There will be no threats and intimidation... our actions
    must be guided by the deepest principles of our Christian
    faith. Love must be our regulating ideal. . . .

    Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, and pray for them
    that use you. If we fail to do this our protest will end up as a
    meaningless drama on the stage of history, and its memory will be
    shrouded with the ugly garments of shame... [When the history
    books are written] there lived a race of people who had the moral
    courage to stand up for their rights. And thereby they injected a
    new meaning into the veins of history and civilization."  --
                          Dr. Martin Luther King

Before you use the word "rights" -- ask yourself this, "Would I go to
a Family Law reform rally if I knew my home might be burned down?"

    "This non-violence will be expressed through Civil Disobedience.
    My ambition is no less than to convert people through
    non-violence, and thus make them see the wrong they have done. I
    do not seek to harm people. I want to serve them even as I want to
    serve my own . . .

    If the people join me as I expect they will, the suffering they
    will undergo will be enough to melt the stoniest hearts."  --
                            Mahatma Gandhi           

example of how bad the system is.  The larger question: What are we
going to do about it?

(Note: I'm not an activist for Men's Rights or Women's Rights. This
isn't to say they don't have some valid concerns and goals.  My issue
is the Family Rights of both Mothers and Fathers.)

"WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE" -- There is currently a review of Family Law
underway in California by the "Elkins Family Law Task Force." Here is
something from a group called "Fathers & Families" (sorry Moms!) that
submitted recommendations:

It's a 24 page document. I encourage you to read what they propose as
a "Co-Parent's Bill of Rights and Responsibilities" -- page 11.  It's
nice to know you can feel good! You're still a "Co-Parent" even if you
do only see your kids a few weekends a month and have no say in what
they are doing...  but we'll let you know!  Your FEEDBACK?

"THE DECLARATION OF FAMILY RIGHTS" -- I believe it is worth signing!

Your FEEDBACK -- strength in numbers!

--- Brian Johnson <>

> I continue to receive and read your emails with interest.  I've been
> very active in the post-divorce equal parenting movement, both
> locally and nationally here in Canada, for 12 years now.  I'm the VP
> for Coalition Affairs for The Canadian Equal Parenting Council, the
> President of the Canadian Coalition for Equal Parenting, the
> Coordinator for the Regina Shared Parenting Network, and am a Board
> member of Fathers-4-Justice Canada.
> I am very impressed with your obviously deep and tenacious
> commitment to the movement.  In many ways you continue to inspire.
> I would like to make a small comment and suggestion on your efforts.
> I have struggled, like so many others in the movement, with efforts
> to motivate others to become more active, with only modest success.
> I note your struggles as well.
> I am interested in knowing if you have contacted either The American
> Coalition for Fathers and Children (out of Washington) or Fathers
> and Families (out of Boston)?  Have you discussed with either of
> them the idea of setting up a chapter of their organization where
> you live near New York?  As you know, there is strength in numbers
> on a logarithmic scale.

> Accordingly, I would like to ask if you would consider holding off
> on your next (isolated?) action until you have explored these two
> organizations as allies, or some other organization.  Or, failing
> that approach, perhaps hold off until you have secured the support
> of at least a few other people who would be willing to join you.
> The reasons for my suggestion are the following: 1) in numbers -
> strength; 2) in numbers - safety; 3) in numbers - enhanced
> motivation; 4) in numbers - unity; 5) in numbers - emotional
> support; 6) in numbers - media coverage.  

> The last point is particularly critical as I'm sure your know.
> Without the media to at least report an action, and preferably to
> provide supportive coverage, the action's impact would be almost
> entirely lost as a motivating effort.  With the media's coverage
> and, hopefully, support, the action will be profoundly more
> effective.  Instead of giving the appearance of a single,
> unsupported voice for change, an activity accomplished by a group of
> people (however small, and hopefully growing) would have a huge
> effect on motivating others to act as well.  I believe that all
> activists across the continent should place as their first priority
> some action plan to establish a group-based response to the burdens
> we have been enduring.  Without much greater political presence, our
> movement will continue to languish.  This is why organizations such
> as the two I've mentioned above, or other organizations in the
> movement, are so critical to support, such that the critical mass
> needed, to effect the large P political change we are all striving
> for, will come all that sooner.

> Would you be willing to consider my ideas?

I'm sending my reply to you and also to a few of the groups you
mention and others who are active.  I agree with almost everything you
say above and have had the same thoughts.  What you say about more
effectiveness in numbers is absolutely correct.  I have tried
contacting the groups above, on several occasions, but not seen a lot
of support from leadership.  There is nothing "magic" about what I am
doing and you, or any of the other groups could do similar things -- I
have kept in touch with the F4J Canada group and glad to see they have
a group dedicated to public action. Although a few member of F4J in
the US have tried, it doesn't seem to be catching on here?

This may seem basic, but we still don't agree on Fundamental "Goals"
for reform -- and what "Methods" are suitable to achieve those goals.
How could I expect their support?  The "Declaration of Family Rights"
makes a strong Civil Rights statement,
That type of Goal calls for Civil Rights "methods" -- and those
peaceful methods call for an element of unavoidable self-sacrifice.
Many groups and individuals have an aversion to breaking any law as a
form of civil disobedience.  Many groups are non-profits and could
find themselves fined by Judges for financial damages if they did so.
I ask people, "What personal sacrifice are you willing to make right
now to try to make the reform you desire a reality?"  I get few

I can't blame them.  If you have a different goal, these methods may
not be correct.  Many would declare victory if they could just get a
"rebuttable presumption of equality" into law -- but a Judge would
still decide what's best for the kids, after all, every family is so

Maybe for some it is a matter of achieving a small short term goal,
before going after the big goal of real EQUALITY?  In some ways that
makes sense, but the problem may be -- we need to overcome what has
become a deep-seated social prejudice and acceptance of government
interference in family life.  To do that, we need numbers and votes --
a big "Civil Rights" goal can do more to inspire people to act.  When
you say "Civil Rights", it calls forth a different level of effort.

I believe others are waiting to see if "these ideas about loving
self-sacrifice really work?"  Maybe this "faith" based approach worked
years ago for Indian Independence and stopping Segregation -- but
these are different times.  We are more modern now.  People don't have
that same Faith....

Brian, believe me what I say I have many of the same doubts every time
I find myself in jail -- but I have see some very good things happen
(at a smaller level) and I must try to be true to my Faith in a loving
God.  While I always try to get others, it does not excuse me from
acting alone when confronted with injustice & indignity.

More people may be "more" effective, but one person can still change
things.  I'm never more than one major news story from seeing things
turn around.  Remember the Black "freedom riders" from the 50s.  It
started with one, became a few, and when it got major press coverage
-- it became trendy!


                                          John Murtari
Coordinator                              AKidsRight.Org
jmurtari@AKidsRight.Org           A Kid's Right to BOTH parents"
(315) 944-0999(x-211)               http://www.AKidsRight.Org/

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