We Have A Choice

Every election cycle may see the creation of a legislative bill aimed directly at people on the sex offender registry. Regardless of what the bill is titled, there will always be an argument without supporting facts or evidence the bill “will keep children safe”. 

It has been only a month into a new political cycle. We are once again witnessing a national legislative agenda filled with residency restrictions, senior assisted living, exclusionary benefit schemes, parental rights, and other bills directly aimed at people on the sex offender registry. 

However, only a few short months ago, we heard manifestos of politicians exclaim criminal justice reforms and a return to compassion for human life. However, the same elected people that we count on to make that change and live up to their word are often the very people that alienate their agenda, returning to fear-laced propaganda and divorcing rational thought. 

If you were to take any of the current sex offense bills and remove the title “sex offender” and replace it with African-American, Jewish, Gay or Lesbian, or Latino, there would certainly be an outcry of discrimination. But that is what politicians do when creating law. The United States has been down that road before with Jim Crow-styled laws and loud politicized rhetoric that always seems to mention protections without any supporting facts or evidence. The truth is that historically once such laws if and when have been rescinded, there are years of apologies, compensation programs, and reeducation policies to heal all the decades of wrongdoing to ordinary human beings. 

It is all a more incredible lesson of what Nazi soldiers said after the war about witnessing atrocities and the rounding up of human beings they were told to treat as criminals. In their defense, Nazi soldiers would say, “I had no choice” or “it was my duty”. Nazi leaders would tout, “this is the protection of the fatherland”. Similar arguments are continually argued about the U.S. Civil War reconstruction era, the Hopewell Native American treaty, the Civil Rights Selma to Montgomery marches, to the Stonewall riots. However, the lesson learned moments are striking similarities that lawmakers and people haven’t learned much from history and continue to spew rhetoric to incite fear without data or evidence citing it is for America’s safety. 

As Americans, we ought to be striving for opportunities to educate and facilitate best practices towards confronting our worst fears by creating a fair policy for all. Instead, we continue to live in a world guided by Jim Crow laws with a McCarthy-styled methodology that everyone could be an offender or sympathizer. We shouldn’t want to live in a nation where fear drives us? 

Our leaders have a moral obligation to do the right thing for all people. While politicians lay claim to following a spiritual path, they too often stray, leaving behind moral thought and embracing corruption by saying, “I had no choice”. Thus history ultimately repeats itself, causing morality to be stuck in the mud. 

Perhaps the best medicine for our history is to become stewards of what is right and fair for all. But such action requires people to become active voices in pushing back. Never assume that others are doing the work for you. While people sat idly by and witnessed Nazi atrocities, civil, gay, or Muslim rights being egregiously violated, what are you doing to back up the voices that represent your concerns? Pick up the phone and call your legislative representative to voice your opposition to a bill. Invest in memberships to organizations that support your cause. Show up in person to your legislature, allowing your lawmakers to see advocacy no longer afraid. 

Dr. Judith Levine researched in 2016, African Americans account for 22 percent of publicly listed registered sex offenders nationally; they make up just 13 percent of the U.S. population. However, that number is staggeringly growing by the day. During this period of Black History Month, we ought to take a moment to reflect on how far we may have come but how far we have to go. We have a moral duty to get things right moving forward.

Follow the yellow brick road

On April 25th, 1993, I was a participant on The March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation. I was 27 years old at the time, on active duty in the military, and afraid of living as a gay man in America. But when I saw nearly a million people all around me at the march, things began to sink in that I was never going to be alone again. During the time of the March on Washington, our nation was experiencing a COVID-like condition called AIDS. There wasn’t a vaccine, no cure, and limited treatment options, not to mention stymied with various thoughts or assumptions on how the virus was acquired.

Gay marriage was on the agenda but ignored by many. Discrimination against gays was rampant across the country where gay men were accused and jailed for crimes ranging from public displays of affection, sodomy allegedly seen through bedroom windows, alleged male teen grooming, solicitation in public restrooms, and just about anything that made others feel uncomfortable. The gay community had various “Amy Cooper‘s” all across America that would secretly make calls to police making false claims where gay establishments, gays, lesbians, teachers, or soldiers suspected of being gay were harassed or discharged. Some businesses that catered to gay/lesbian clientele were sometimes raided, often harassed, and on occasion gay people were arrested under any law police could find to let the courts sort out. But the public shaming was already done.

If you still continue to say “all lives matter”, then you clearly do not understand disproportion in America.

If you say “blue lives matter” then perhaps you are the problem with disproportion and racism in America.

But if you just began to recently chant or utter “black lives matter” , then you are the reason America lags in disproportion, racism, equality, and social justice in America.

Dwayne Daughtry

Naturally, some counter-protesters at pride marches hurled a barrage of expletives or proudly held signs displayed with large magic markers reading words such as fag, homo, peter puffers, and other unparliamentary languages all on live television or captured in news print creating a media circus and frenzy of entertainment where gays and lesbians were the targeted entertainment value for predominately “white America”. Pop culture, the music industry, and people did its part to help contribute to gay shaming techniques by using explicative or gesture as free speech so loosely that some in the gay community feel it parallels no different than uttering or whispering the n-word. Former U.S. Senator Jesse Helms threatened to defund art museums for displaying gay art or art by gay artists. Today we see art, movies, and television whitewashed because of past sex offenses or allegations of acts and we wonder where police get its ideas from? Police and city leaders would often not approve parade or demonstration permits because of various made-up reasons citing their gut feelings rather than being leaders and providing an opportunity for bold learning and an open dialog. However, police are never trained to connect with its community but to hold its community in contempt like vultures waiting for the next sex sting or made for television drama. But we kept marching, going to jail, and peacefully resisting.

Today we witness an uprising of having enough of countless lives lost in the name of absolute immunity. When police use tactics of cutting off the air supply to a human being causing death without accountability, naturally, that event triggers an anger-raged emotion that enough is enough. This conversation isn’t about monetary compensation. This is about restoring our ability to live as human beings free from oppression, registries, profiling, prejudice, and a prison state of living. It is absolutely disgusting that a teacher must endure four years of college, pass a teaching certification, only to be paid a wage that barely meets the living standard with an agenda to change the lives of our future. However, a police officer only requires a two-year community college course, less than 15 hours of firearms training annually and paid a salary often twice the amount of a teacher with an agenda that could impact the accused for a lifetime.

While the President of the United States conveniently is escorted in a cowardly path towards a bunker and builds an extended wall around the White House for his personal protection, he alienates and discards the human accountability towards peace and dialog all while collecting a $400,000 a year salary. The late night Twitter tirades of hatred and division behind a keyboard not only shows an unhinged man, but a disturbing band of followers. The irony that Trump can commit various alleged sexual offenses, multiple divorces, infidelities, bare false witness on many occasions, and is quickly forgiven or absolved by his followers. But if a gay person, a person of color or Latino commits similar acts, they are quickly admonished or publically shamed. It is the double standard of American culture and idolization and blasphemy of Christian faiths… and we wonder who is really responsible for bringing the most harm to the church and preserving the sanctity of faith? He contributes microaggression by tossing words as “thugs”, “bad hombres”, “terrorists”, “stupid” is nothing more than a modern-day use of the n-word. Perhaps the president can be a deciphered by his lack of leadership is best summarized by an interpretation of the wizard behind the curtain scene from the movie The Wizard of Oz. The movie/book of Oz presented an important lesson that the wizard was a fraud and never really welding the power we all thought he had. Perhaps we should learn a lesson from that moment.

If churches want to play the game of politics, let them pay admission like everyone else.

George Carlin

The LGBT community has seen all of this before with the death of Matthew Shepard in 1998. A gay man was lynched and tortured in Wyoming that sparked an outcry of injustices in America because his attackers thought “they may turn gay too.” Yet, while the LGBT community rallied for change, many sat silently on the sidelines without comment or demanding change. Despite criminal charges for those responsible for Mr. Shepards’ death, they were freed upon a technicality sparking an outcry of injustice and inequality. I cannot recall the number of times I heard heterosexuals openly say, “he got what he deserved because he was openly gay.” But I wonder how many people are whispering the same thing but changing the word from gay to black about Travon Martin, Rodney King, or George Floyd? I am more than confident that racism spews like water even while others we think we have come a long way in civil rights. The LGBT community has heard all the rhetoric before and could potentially be witnessing once again how a call to action could dissipate into business as usual. There are plenty of Matthew Shepard stories in the LGBT community untold, lost, and swept under landfill styled rug replaced with a marketing version of the American dream and land of opportunity. Some of us have recognized that marketing tactic has outlived its purpose.

Thirty years ago, Rodney King was viciously beaten by police creating rioting our society had not seen in decades. Yet, today we don’t mention the late Rodney King as history has quietly forgotten about him, the police involved with its promise to retrain, the politicians making noises calling protesters thugs, and advocacy groups that used King as a prop – no differently than how President Trump used a bible and church as a backdrop. It is an unfortunate historical lesson of how we quickly forget about historical benchmarks that have a significant opportunity for change, the disenfranchisement of society, and continuing the drumbeat of becoming a better society with a vested interest of becoming change-makers and global leaders in human rights.

However low a man sinks he never reaches the level of the police.

Quentin Crisp

I don’t wish to sound pessimistic, but change won’t come because of the George Floyd demonstrations. We have been down this road before and watched it slowly and calmly hand back the power to the very institution that caused the ruckus in the first place. The change will only happen once we change police, prosecutorial, and judicial absolute immunity laws to protect citizens’ civil rights and restore dialog, humanity, and compassion.

Black Lives Matter do matter! There are many gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people of color that endure hatred every day. Society quietly watches from the sidelines, never to get too involved, because it does understand. In fact, I would inject it doesn’t want to know and learn because it fears it may learn the truth about themselves. Despite all the laws to protect LGBT members, police and politicians continue to harass and target LGBT people of color each day. When North Carolina introduced House Bill 2, which prohibited transgender bathroom use, it was the police that specifically targeted black LGBT people with arrest and harassment. Yet, very few spoke publicly until big corporations, big entertainment names, and big money came out in support of LGBT people. However, we quickly forget about House Bill 2, just like we forgot about Rodney King and the Ferguson Missouri riots in 2014. Perhaps our obsession of becoming bought or sell-outs of others is where we often lose focus. A lessons learned moment is to remain grassrooted in advocacy so that you never lose focus of the cause, mission, and historical lessons. Change should never be purchased by a company, but should come from the hard work of the people for whom it’s intended.

Additionally, police know that criminal and civil litigation costs the accused or accusers money they don’t readily have available, especially disproportioned groups. Equal access to justice shouldn’t bankrupt an individual or group at the sufferage of a high priced attorney or the state levying a court-appointed attorney fee to be paid at the end of a trial. We must also address the high cost of legal justice and jail/prison fees in America. Justice shouldn’t be the hopes of having a lottery winnings payout or a Go Fund Me page. But that is where we are now and why police, the courts, prosecutors, probationers, prisons, and sometimes lawyers have the upper advantage. American society has created a business continuity program that created a justice enterprise business model. Perhaps now is the time to start a bankruptcy sale and start all over doing it right this time and for a better bargain.

Today we need people to follow the yellow brick road and find courage, a heart, and the brains to become smarter this time in finding a more permanent solution. The yellow brick road is a journey. Your ruby red shoes are any shoes you chose to walk in proudly and unashamed. The outfit you wear shouldn’t matter. It should reflect you and your personality. However, ‘hate’ is an awful color; but ‘shame’ and ‘vulnerability’ is perhaps a euphemism as an excellent skin toner and moisturizer. We must learn to be proud to accept shame and vulnerability in our lives and the lives of others. That is the only way we will overcome our obstacles to adjoin at the crossroads of redemption and rehabilitation. The feet of our marching of those that choose not to listen footsteps towards a path to polls to make change melting away the wickedness and cowards that stand in our way.

Fashion is what you adopt when you don’t know who you are.

Quentin Crisp

The LGBT community has been down the yellow brick road plenty of times in hopes of finding a Good Witch of the South but enduring munchkins along the way. Maybe we can all try to find our character, our place in society, our voice, and our purpose to restore faith from this bad dream towards a life that it was all just a dream. Let us help many of the George Floyds in our society from future harm by learning lessons and becoming an active part of a vision that change is not temporary but a permanent and active part of our civic duty. Let’s do our part by envisioning Dr. King’s “I have a dream speech.” Let’s turn our energy from the table to building that yellow brick road journey. Black lives do matter. Let’s continue to build on that and make the change and rebuild our lives ending repression once and for all.

As the recent demonstrations and riots occurred all across America in support of change because of the death of George Floyd, I am reminded how a riot and demonstrations similarly happened on a much different scale at Stonewall. We fought police and the gay community made a significant step forward. Let’s hope that same energy has dramatic change for our fellow people of color brothers and sisters.

As long as you march and believe in yourself, you will never be alone…and the fear from within subsides that makes you not only a part of history but a changemaker. I am proud of you. That is what pride is all about. It doesnt just belong to the LGBT community. We want you to have pride too and be free to express yourself without judgement or prejudice!

“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.”

Truman Capote

COVID-19 Lack of Domestic Planning

Shortly after the terror attacks of 9/11, our nation created a cabinet department of the U.S. federal government named The United States Department of Homeland Security. Its stated missions involve anti-terrorism, border security, immigration and customs, cybersecurity, and disaster prevention and management. But 17 years and billions of net discretionary dollars annually, we are met once again with a potential crisis that we are not utilizing or prepared to handle.

When we reflect on natural disasters just after 9/11, such as hurricanes Katrina, Irma, and Maria, our nation with an allegedly prepared Emergency Management System in place witnessed casualties surpassing the 9/11 events. Today, these epicenters are still in some forms of recovery mode in planning because of the beuracacy of how emergency management is mitigated.

In 2009 our nation endured the H1N1 virus pandemic, where an estimated twelve thousand people in the United States died from flu symptoms. After action reviews by the CDC and healthcare professionals began recommending annual flu vaccinations so that such a crisis does not occur again. The problem with that particular plan and model is that the debate over healthcare, where, and who should be vaccinated a mixed bag of messages. Additionally, the congressional political hot potato of “repeal and replace” health coverage has many citizens, not uninsured or underinsured. Therefore, there is no plan and billions of dollars wasted while our leadership sits on the sidelines using political tactics rather than scientific or strategically planned tactics to win a pandemic war.

Today we are witnessing a crisis without any planning. However, most disturbing is that the very agency, The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the very agency that is supposed to keep the public informed, has been almost silent and somewhat nonexistent. Instead, the Vice-President of the United States has been the Coronavirus “expert,” leaving the Centers for Disease Control and Homeland Security out of the equation. To prove my point, I bet many of us cannot name who the Secretary of Homeland Security? That assessment alone should send a chill any emergency management taskforce because once again, we do not have a plan to execute and remedy the coronavirus.

A question we should begin asking leadership is, “where did the nearly $51 billion dollars spent each year at Homeland Security go?” “where is our investment to handle any crisis?” After all, these are your tax dollars and should meet a means test as to how your money is spent and how we prepare ordinary citizens.

What I have learned about Homeland Security and various emergency management agencies isn’t a pessimistic outcome but a reality. Emergency Management agencies are ill-equipped in strategic leadership to handle any situation. A critical reason is that emergency management is not led by professionals and experts in their field, but led by politicians with an amateur role to read from a teleprompter without an ounce of understanding about the topic at hand. It is as if we have handed out honorary doctoral degrees to politicians and kept the real doctors on the sidelines.

While I am optimistic that the coronavirus will go away, I am increasingly concerned that agencies such as Homeland Security and elected leadership is far behind the learning curve of understanding and impact on its citizens. You wouldn’t send troops to the front lines of battle, ill-equipped and untrained. Perhaps we need to learn how to defend ourselves on the domestic front by learning to win a pandemic war and solve some critical local issues.

Reflection of 2019

Looking back in 2019, I must say that it was a pleasant and prosperous year. Often we misplace gratitude by substituting an adverse event as if it defined the entire year. Clearly, that is not the experience I encountered.

In February, I was able to speak and interview with Mary Sue Molnar of Texas Voices about her work and advocacy affecting registrants. She is an amazing woman and champion for registrants all over America. Speaking with her was indeed a privilege and helped spark a transformation about if my doctoral research was in the direction I really wanted to pursue. A week later, I was able to interview Dr. Alissa Ackerman, Sex Crimes Expert, and Social Justice Advocate that focuses on restorative justice. I often don’t discuss my personal life of those that have an impact on “the type of person I wish to immolate.” However, Dr. Ackerman embodies everything I wish I could possibly be in critical thinking. She has no idea how much her TEDx Talk changed not only my perspective of restorative justice but helped improve not only my Ph.D. direction but lit a fire within me to learn and advocate her message.

In March, I interviewed Dr. Will Mingus, Editor-in-Chief of Lifetimes Magazine. His awe-inspiring message of positivity helps lift many from a dark place in the world towards the light. If you are not a subscriber of the Lifetimes Magazine, you should subscribe today. Naturally, speaking with Dr. Nick Dubin made me feel like I had connected with a friend and ally that I had not seen in decades. His passion and insight about autism opened new doors for me to become inclusive in advocacy. Though we have never met in person, his story and personal connections that felt similar to mine presented a warm-fuzzy feeling that we all have a purpose, message, and similarities.

I also had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with Lenore Skenazy of Free-Range Kids. I absolutely loved listening to her story and how she, with an unafraid approach, tackles fear to identify the facts left to question why we were fearful in the first place?

April I spoke with Rachel Barkow of New York University. Dr. Barkow thoroughly researched criminal justice reforms that can make the most staunchly close-minded individual changing his/her tune towards better reforms starting in the courtrooms all across America. Listening to Dr. Barkow is easy to understand lectures with easy to follow guidelines that are fair and balanced for both sides of an issue.

May I met Paul Dubbeling and began lobbying efforts with North Carolinians for Rational Sexual Offense Laws (NCRSOL). I spoke to both chambers of the North Carolina legislature to halt Senate Bill 199. For the first time in nearly a decade, registrants of the sex offender registry were able to appear in person at the legislative building without reprisal or fear of arrest. Later during the month, I was able to interview and speak with David Lee Garlock. His story touched my heart. While we have never met, he too feels like a long-lost brother. We often collaborate via social media, and I am deeply impressed with his vision of inclusiveness despite all that he has endured. He is an amazing young man.

Of course, the NARSOL National Conference in Houston, Texas, was a highlight I will never forget. Meeting so many beautiful people from all over the nation is a memory I cherish each and every day. I met others with fantastic stories and talents that I began to rethink where I could best serve registrant advocacy on the national level.

In June/July, I pressured the state legislature to remove language that would be challenged in court. However, the state budget took the spotlight. Quietly the bill was stripped down to barely nothing at all. Victory, no matter how small or insignificant, was transforming into a triumph for registrants.

In August, I met with Senators Tillis, Burr, Kaine, Rubio, and others at Congress to discuss how to reign in sexual offense reforms. I was assured by all senators and representatives that no new legislation would be introduced. Amazingly, they kept their word. I was fortunate to speak with Sen. Lauren Book (FL-D) in a cordial conversation about how the sex offender registry harm families. It was the first step in perhaps the right direction of diplomacy through dialog. Hopefully, there will me more upcoming conversations.

In October/November, I began NCRSOL partnerships with the NAACP, The NC Justice Center, Second Chance Alliance, and the Latino League to engage our message about the registry and the impacts it has on families.

In 2019 I was elevated to the NCRSOL Board of Directors and appointed as Executive Director. I am proud to say that NCRSOL has not only the best staff but is the most effective team that genuinely cares about registrants, families, and allies.

I purchased a new car, which was highly overdue. I managed to change Ph.D. programs and switch universities, providing me an opportunity to focus on my desire to focus more on collateral consequences. There are so many people that I could mention that such gratitude for having the ability to connect with them all demonstrates that advocacy is not an isolated job. There are plenty of resources to effectively work as a team and build wonderful friendships and opportunities.

Overall, 2019 has been an incredible year for me. Despite the minor setbacks by a few unsavory characters, I and the bigger message of inclusiveness was supported by people that genuinely care about others and took risks to protect not only me but others with a firm understanding of the bigger picture. A lessons learned moment is that we must be mindful and distant of those with an agenda filled with hate and a self-serving agenda. I pray for those individuals that they seek a betterment of life for themselves.

2020 has so much more to offer. Despite registry setbacks for many, I am optimistic that change is around the corner. This upcoming decade is geared towards criminal justice reforms for all. Not just a few.

The ACLU is Not Our Friend

Since the beginning of President Trump’s tenure, there has been rhetoric about immigration, and violent sex offenders turned loose from prisons. Leading the way is, supposedly, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). But the ACLU has habitually missed significant steps forward in fighting for the rights of those impacted by the sex offender registry. Instead, the ACLU failed to identify the inaccuracies, injustices, and misinformation about sex offender registries. Instead the ACLU focused upon people that are not American citizens and have direct diplomatic relations with their respective nations to highlight an obvious problem. Registrants have no constituencies what so ever. While I think it is essential to protect all people, the American based (ACLU) focused on non-Americans to grow its membership internationally, alienating sex offenders, families, allies, and most of all the common American citizen.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a nonprofit organization whose stated mission is “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

The ACLU has had since the 2006 federal passage to a nationally based sex offender registry has failed to become involved in the sex offender registry issues. Anyone that performs a web search where the ACLU has become a defender of registry issues may be in for quite a surprise. The ACLU has made no real effort to fight for the rights of registrants and their families. However, when a case such as Packingham v. North Carolina or the recent Michigan Doe vSnyder, the national ACLU will take credit for something it didn’t really have an initial substantial interest or follow-up after the fact. The ACLU habitually misses civil justice by quickly touting a win in the courtroom but failing to apply that win to the public for immediate use. It is deeply saddening and an injustice to all of those impacted by the sex offender registry that the ACLU has done nothing to enforce the rulings after the fact or to become involved in complex registry issues. The lack of representation by a nationally known organization somewhat renames the ACLU to the “Abandoned Civil Liberties Union.”

Sure, there can be a supporting argument that Michigan ACLU did a marvelous job in protections of those impacted and punished by sex offender registries. However, it is safe to say that the national ACLU didn’t lend the Michigan chapter much support. Instead, I foresee the ACLU with an agenda to further other registries without taking into consideration that “all registries do harm” approach. Therefore, I am a skeptic of the ACLU because the organization fails to embrace the sex offense conversation and the collateral consequences associated with registries.

Over the past year, I and many others have reached out to form partnerships, memberships, and request guidance or assistance for blatant human rights violations of registered sex offenders particularly in North Carolina or the national level. Such developments surround the Alabama Castration law, registrants in North Carolina unable to attend religious services, and the Georgia Halloween issue that quickly spread into North Carolina that still goes unanswered and unchallenged. Each and every time, I received a reply that “the ACLU is unable to provide assistance at this time.” My question to the ACLU is, “when is an approrpiate time?” Thos on the sex offender registry have endured ex post facto policies and inhumane liberties for decades. Yet the ACLU rushes to the #MeToo movement alienating simple Americans because they are not as cash rich as the Hollywood machine to capitalize a money gravy train. When the ACLU fails to address the complexities of sex offender registry issues presents a harsh reality to the sex offender community that the ACLU has given its stance about sex offender registry rights by completly ignoring them and will continue to ignore them.

But one thing is for sure, the ACLU and its chapters are quick to send out a mass mailing or email to beg for our money. It presents an appearance that the ACLU has migrated from grassroots to become a cash-for-rights agency, or it appears to be the reality for most registrants.

People listed on the sex registry, not on probation or monitored, are banned from religious services, banned from public spaces, banned from picking up or dropping off their children from school or daycare, banned from attending church, banned from visiting a state fair, banned from Facebook or other social medial platforms, cannot vacation or commercial properties in Florida or other states without registering within so many hours or the threat of jail. Yet, the ACLU remains invisible to sex offender registrants. The harsh reality is that at least those detained in an immigration holding center have more freedoms and representations than a person affected by the sex offender registry because they may do all those things mentioned once released. Immigrants are not living under a bridge, homeless, jobless, have a sex offender stamp printed on their driver’s license or passport, can receive health care, and assistance for legal advice. Registrants do not have these basic needs and equal access to these rights as Americans.

Civil rights begin right here on our doorsteps. Our nation relies upon effective leadership and organizations to advocate our concerns. But the ACLU with its ennoormous tax-free breaks and agenda on the backs of hard working Americans has gone to the wayside in the name of big donors and publicity of the easy tasks. The ACLU has become an agency center-stage to politicize its agenda by involving itself in the center of the #MeToo movement. Doing so presents a one-sided advocacy that rather than a focus on liberty and justice for all which implies both sides. Clearly the ACLU doesnt seem to care about liberty and justice unless it is profitable for them and allows easy access in giving the ACLU sole recognition value for hard work done by grass-roots advocates. The nearly 1 million registrants and their families have been significantly let down by the ACLU.

The purpose of “Me Too”, as initially voiced by Tarana Burke as well as those who later adopted the tactic, is to empower women through empathy and strength in numbers, especially young and vulnerable women, by visibly demonstrating how many women have survived sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace.

The ACLU has had nearly a decade to identify through various high profile federal cases grass-roots organizations to help benefit their primary cause and mission statement. Organizations such as NARSOL, ACSOL, WAR, and other state-affiliated organizations seek a relationship with the ACLU. But perhaps the ACLU is too ashamed to deal with real problems or association? With almost a million registrants, there doesn’t seem to be a blip on the radar screen that the ACLU is an ally the registry community can rely upon or trust. Civil liberties don’t take sides. It is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country. This is where the ACLU has failed us and will continue to do so until the registry community hold them accountable for for abandoning registrants. Registrants are not seeking to overturn convictions. Registrants are simply asking for liberty to be preserved after incarseration or sentencing once completed.

We must immediately stop any contributions to the ACLU financially and socially until it returns towards its grassroots of defending liberty and civility for all citizens. Registrants can no longer depend on the ACLU name to support unjust causes – unless, of course, you have a significant cash reserve to present to them. The ACLU must stop acting like a social club with a velvet rope among the very supporters of liberty. Perhaps it is time to close the good ole boys club and support real causes that affect real people?

Eventually, the ACLU will become ensnared into the registry somehow. I certainly do not wish that upon anyone. However, for the lack of ACLU representation amongst us it will perhaps take years of trust building to return towards a civil and educative conversation. The ACLU has abandoned those impacted by the sex offender registry and should be ashamed to call itself an national organization that “defends and preserves the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country. ” A friend would not abandon another brother.

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