Dr. King's Day / 48 Arrests and 207 Jail Days for Family Rights - worth it?

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From: John Murtari (jmurtari@AKidsRight.Org)
Date: Mon Jan 17 2011 - 11:43:01 EST

Good People & People of Faith,

Today is Martin Luther King Day and I wasn't sure what to write.

Then I remembered a questions someone asked me several months ago,
"John, how many times have you been arrested? How much jail time?"

Well, today I actually went through our website and created a spread
sheet to track it all.  The answer:

*48 Arrests and 207 Days in Jail*

Check here for the spreadsheet -> http://www.AKidsRight.org/jail-time.pdf

Here is a BIGGER question for both you and me?   Was it worth it?

For me, Yes!  And if we want to see real reform and the enactment of
a Federal Family Rights Act (http://www.NationalPLC.Org) -- more
Moms and Dads need to join in similar efforts.

It is just an amazing history and I have seen the power in NonViolent
Action (and according to Dr. King and others -- it has to be a
demonstration of love and self sacrifice).  Just not being physically
violent, but still calling opponents names -- is NOT NonViolent Action.

I was allowed to do things you wouldn't think possible as you read the
history.  How?  More than one attorney told me,/"John, you are so
polite, nice, and peaceful -- they don't know how to handle you..."/

Check here for more on Dr. King -> http://www.akidsright.org/p_martin.htm
and why this day and what it demonstrates is so important.


*1) When was your "first time?"*

In Dec of 1998.  During my divorce the Judge gave my wife the "option"
of moving out of our house and taking our son with her (he had refused
their motion to have me booted).  She moved out, I stayed in the home
and it gave Domenic great continuity at home.  Later, while the
divorce was on appeal, they got an order to "evict" me from the Judge.

I could not walk out of my own home.  I ended up under arrest and in
the Syracuse City Jail -- I'd never been arrested or in jail in my
entire life.  The charges were later dismissed.

*2) Why all the "breaks" in the schedule?*

During this entire time I was always able to avoid jail time during
scheduled vacation time with Domenic.  Spring break, our six week
summer vacation together, and Christmas.  I am not "essential" to
reform in what I do, but I could not sacrifice time with my son -- but
there were some close calls.

The Goal was always legislative progress.  When it looked like real
dialog could happen with a politician I would focus on that.

*3) What else helped?*

What you don't see on the "spreadsheet", but you will find in more
detail at the web site was the positive effect the support of other
parents had!  Parents who joined me outside buildings, had
demonstrations, wrote letters and made phone calls to Judges,
Politicians, and the Media.  I used to tell people, every effort they
made gave me "another layer of Teflon."
4) Why didn't you pay bail?*

Bail represents surety for a "promise" you will return to court.  You
are always presumed innocent when arrested -- but bail can be used
to pick-your-pockets in any protest effort.  I wanted to demonstrate
sacrifice and waiting in jail was fine.  I was usually ROR'd (Released
on my Own Recognizance).

I also found that by staying in jail, that speeded up the trial clock
(and the "system" didn't like that).  It was more inconvenient to hold

*5) Why have you stopped?*

For most of the time I ran a small Internet business and I had other
people working with me who could keep the business going while I was
"tied up" for a while.

I had to close the business, can't drive because of child support issues,
http://www.AKidsRight.Org/support_jm.htm -- so I just don't have the
money to survive and am currently getting by on contract work I can
do from home.

It is my FULL INTENTION to resume the effort in the future as soon as
my financial situation is stable.

*6) What will it take for real progress?*

We need to get more people involved.  I could tell the politicians
were "nervous" about my actions and the spreadsheet certainly shows
the length the "system" was willing to go to in avoiding an arrest.

It is easy to dismiss ONE person -- to be joined by another Mother and
Father willing to risk jail for the love of their kids would put the
movement on the map!

I do believe that day will soon be here.


                                      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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