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Volunteers needed: Meeting with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to discuss reform.

Good People & People of Faith,

The subject of this message says it all: Volunteers needed for private personal meeting with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (Former First Lady, Globally recognized leader in Children's issues, and Author) to discuss National Family Law Reform. A tentative planning date for the meeting is in September. I expect we'll have at least one hour, and we are looking for a small group of 4-8 mothers and fathers to attend. Interested? Please review the details below.

I guess I should say that Senator Clinton currently has no plans on her schedule for such a meeting with concerned parents, nor does Senator Schumer (NY), Congressman James Walsh (NY), or Senator Kerry (future Presidential Candidate from Massachusetts) -- but I think that will happen soon. As a matter of fact, I hate to go "out on a limb", but I would say its almost a certainty. Why?

The Political Process
Because she is going to be convinced that it is in her political best interest to do so as an elected Representative of the people of the United States. That is how our "republican" system of government was designed to work. Like many of you, I have been a bit surprised at the "run around" and lack of response (other than polite letters), that we get from elected officials. It seems difficult to engage them or their staffs in a serious dialog.

We are not lobbyists, or corporate presidents, who have hundreds of thousands of dollars to contribute so we get "access" to talk about out important issues. It is also "safe" for them to ignore us and take care of higher priority items -- and PLEASE understand. We are really not trying to call them "bums" or say they are for sale to the highest bidder. For the most part, they are people like us, just trying to keep a job. We have had good meetings with some staff members and felt that they really cared about the issues -- but it wasn't practical for their member of Congress to act. They have so many demands on their time.

It is "safe" to ignore us because what will the consequence be? What are you going to do about it? Well, just go on with the life I guess... other things come up, we get busy, forget.... Many of us have issues we are concerned about: the environment, schools, taxes -- but are we going to make them the focus of our lives? For the most part -- no.

But people have gotten excited in this country in the past, against segregation, against the War in Vietnam -- it can become a focus. A critical issue.

What is Different Now
We are blessed with one of those issues, our right to be a parent and nurture our very own children. You can see things across the Country where some people are defiant and risk jail; on a more somber note you also have those who take their own lives in despair. Tremendous sacrifices, but not all pointed in the same direction. But certainly we all know this is a serious National issue. The system does not work.

Many of you are aware of what I and others have done trying to influence Senator Clinton. I had suspended my efforts trying to "walk" in petition outside her offices after her Regional representative said our issues would be addressed from the Washington office. So far we have written many letters, but not received any serious reply. I hope we will soon.

What will Happen - NonViolent Action 
But if not, I plan on returning to the Syracuse Federal Building in late July, and resuming my efforts outside her specific office. I will continue those efforts until a time/date for a meeting between parents and the Senator has been established. Now, I normally wouldn't be so presumptuous as to 'demand' a meeting with anyone, but this situation definitely calls for strong action. Her staff has handled this matter in an awful manner, we have been delayed almost a year!

Each of you knows how long that is when you are not seeing your child. We need to make her feel that same sense of urgency! Not by talking about it, but by showing it.

Will it Work
I'd love to get your feedback and predictions. Will there me a meeting in September between Senator Clinton and between Mothers and Fathers of AKidsRight.Org? I have to say yes. I have a lot of Faith that only good things can happen when people make a positive sacrifice. If there is a group of just two moms and dads -- will the Senator be able to ignore that type of tremendous effort, I don't think so.

"Syracuse Five - parents arrested because Senator Clinton is unwilling to address their requests for National Family Law Reform." -- That is a headline she does NOT want to see. That is what makes our system work.

A Self Selecting Group to Attend the Meeting
We talk a lot about NonViolent Action, and Faith, and Love of our Children. A while back someone had an interesting comment about the people that get involved -- we are a "self selecting" group. To participate in one of our "events" is a good indicator of similar feelings.

If these actions in July can result in a meeting with Senator Clinton, who should attend? Obviously, you get an "automatic" invitation if you're willing to carry a picture of your children outside her offices (and risk being thrown in jail).

Because you see -- no one likes to go to jail (most of all me!). People wonder how I can have a positive view of Senator Clinton and these other politicians, and what they will do -- well, it's in my best interest to treat her that way. I am going to work as very hard as I can between now and then to arrange a meeting "the regular way" and I think any of you that are serious about joining in this would have the same feelings. She's a good person, and if we can just make her see us as good parents who have had some basic Civil Rights violated -- we have won a very powerful friend. Even if she does not agree, we will have won some valuable publicity for the issue.

The sacrifice of our freedom is a last resort, but one we are willing to take to make a Member of Congress take notice. This is an important issue.

Take some time to think and reflect. If you are interested in joining some Good People and People of Faith in July, please send me an email, jmurtari@AkidsRight.Org

We will change history. (a few more comments follow)

Why not Now ?
At times I feel so much frustration and pure "indignity" at the way I have been treated through all this...the pain I have seen my son go through -- that I want to go there now. At times the anger is just overwhelming. I'm tired of it all. Time's a wasting!

I think I was ready to do that earlier, but when Senator Clinton's aid came down to talk to me. I had to give them a chance for at least a few months. Many of you haven't spent time just sitting in a jail cell -- but let me tell you -- you get a lot of time to think about alternatives! You know how hard we have tried to get people to write to the Senator's Washington office and we still encourage you to do so (follow the link above for details).

But on a serious note, by early May it will have been two months. The time would be right -- why wait till July? Well, it gets back to the Faith thing I talked about in my last message.

Faith & Results
You see, I have about $1200 in plane tickets that I need in the next week. I'm flying out west tomorrow to pickup Domenic and bring him here for the Easter break. I already know I should have him on June 6th for 6 weeks (till July 18th) for summer vacation. He has already told me he'd like to see me again in between, and I plan on going out the first week of May. I'm driving an 88 Dodge Caravan with 203,000 miles -- but I count myself a very luck man, I can see my child and he loves me. A luxury so many of you don't have.

You see, part of me thinks I shouldn't wait, that I should have the Faith to carry it through sooner. But I'm just a little afraid. I really want to see Dom -- you know. Sit in a jail cell when I could be with him, I don't think I can do it....

I said this earlier, and I will say it again -- some of you folks are going to do amazing things to make this happen. You will make greater sacrifices and demonstrate a greater Faith than I am capable of doing. You see, I have the chance to see MY SON, NOW, for a few weeks -- and for those of you who don't even have that option, I'm sorry -- I can't move up the schedule (obviously every week we wait for a reform, is another week thousands and thousands of parents and children wait, and even more families that are plunged into this awful system).

Faith, yes, I've got the faith to try this in July and accept whatever the consequences are. Do I have the Faith to try it now; no I don't. I don't just say this for effect, it is an awful thing and one that troubles me. ME/MINE comes before you/yours. Some people wonder why I don't get that mad at the system -- well, I find if I look in the mirror first, there is a lot of improvement work there....

Oh yes, I have rationalized it all pretty well, wait a few more months, try to go to a few more meetings, spread the word, get a few more people involved -- then we can succeed. Boy, I think of the story of David and Goliath -- who is going to win the battle? We have a powerful and loving God who will help us, just got to have Faith. As a former military officer I enjoy military history -- the greatest weakness in a leader, never quite finding the "right" time to act. Is there every a "right" time to join a battle where you could be killed? Military history and life is full of opportunities lost because of hesitation.

Some of you, I wish I knew who you are, will have the Faith to do even more. To be willing to sacrifice YOURS, so that all of US will have a better future.

I look forward to meeting you and shaking your hands. From the deepest depths of despair to the joy of the resurrection.

Best Regards and my Best Wishes for a Happy Easter!

John Murtari