News Release – Mom & Dad chalk for Family Rights



Syracuse, NY (Hanley Federal Building) – Members of the parent’s group AKidsRight.Org hope that a local meeting between group members and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) may be near. Local and national members have been calling and faxing the offices of Senator Clinton, a member of the Senate Subcommittee on Children and Families, regarding the recognition and protection of their Civil Right to raise their own children. They plan to gather outside the Syracuse Federal TODAY, Jan 25, at 2PM. A mother (Cathy Hughes) and father (John Murtari) will then take children’s chalk and write on the ground in front of the building “Senator Clinton – Please Help us – We LOVE our kids” They expect to be arrested by Federal Officials.

The group hopes this simple act will demonstrate their love for the kids and their deep convictions that serious reform is necessary. A recent email message (attached) called for a growing effort to build a “Field of Dreams”.

The National Parent’s group (AKidsRight.Org) is attempting to use the methods of Martin Luther King in its search for reform. The Group would like Senator Clinton to respond to their petitions for Congressional Hearings into the need for National Family Law reform and potentially a Family Rights Act, by meeting with local parents.

The Group’s web site highlights the NonViolent philosophy and practice Martin Luther King used to break the grip of segregation. It hopes a similar attitude will help bring reform and also healing to parents who are often involved in bitter child custody disputes with each other or social services; if the nation can observe loving mothers and fathers making personal sacrifice to call attention to their unjust separation from their children – positive reform can happen.

Mr. Murtari, a native of Lyons, New York and a former Air Force pilot and Academy graduate is a local coordinator for the group. He is the President of a small Internet startup company located in Baldwinsville, NY. Murtari had been defended in local courts by Mr. Charles Keller, an SU Law School professor. Mr. Keller has made strong arguments that this unique activity is Constitutionally protected.

In contrast to the bitterness and anger which is normally associated with protest efforts and family issues — Murtari plans a positive attitude. He says they are NOT there to condemn Senator Clinton as a “bad person” or as someone who doesn’t care about family or children’s issues; however, as a natural part of the political process they want to show their concern over the issue and to increase her sensitivity to their cause. The Group is hoping for Congressional Hearings into Family Law reform so that group members affected by the present patchwork of laws across the nation will have a chance to tell their stories.

For more information:

  • John Murtari, Group coordinator, (office: 315-635-1968,x-211)(cell: 315-430-2702).
  • Mr. Richard Southwick, Asst US Attorney Northern District of NY: 315-448-0672
  • Mr. Charles Keller, SU Law School Prof. familiar with case: 315-443-9552
  • Ms. Cathy Calhoun, Regional Rep. for Senator Clinton: 315-448-0470
  • Background information at the web site: www.AKidsRight.Org

Federal Plaza or Field of Dreams (email list message)

In past years I have spent a lot of time at the Syracuse Federal Building. At times that old Kevin Costner film has come to mind — if you build the baseball field (in the middle of your corn field while your family thinks your nuts) — they will come. The possibility of reconciliation and redemption during the journey, but always a risk. It sure does work in the movies — what about real life?

PLEASE, before I go on. I don’t have any illusions of grandeur! No one else may every notice what “I” do at the building, but if “We” do it? Maybe thinking about the “Field of Dreams” will help us think about our struggle.

Tuesday at 2 pm I’ll have another piece of chalk in hand and be crouched in the cold outside the Federal Building. Pressing a simple message onto the ground, “Senator Clinton – Please help us!” I’ll be adding another line to that “Dom – I Love You”. A little after two I may be hearing the click of handcuffs on my wrists.

If you build it they will come? Do they share the dream? Do they believe? Imagine what it would mean to have another mother and father with me, writing with chalk: sending a message to the Senator, telling your child how much you love them? Parents willing to hear the click of handcuffs to show how much they believe in their GREAT right.

WOW — is that powerful. What type of media attention would that bring? Could Senator Clinton say no to meeting with us?

What would you BUILD to make them come?

 I don’t know what you see as an obstacle to reform: the lawyers, judges, social workers, selfish politicians, or money? What would you be willing to write on the Plaza and risk the click of handcuffs?

  • I HATE Judges!
  • I HATE Lawyers!
  • I HATE Social Services!
  • I HATE my former spouse!
  • I Love My Child!

We need people who would pick the last one. In fact, I believe ONLY people who would pick the last one would even take the risk. For the others, it’s not all about reform — a big part is also revenge.

Our Field of Dreams

Many of us know parents who have given up (and maybe we see them in a mirror sometimes). There are parents who have hurt others and hurt themselves. They lost their children, and with them their dream. They think it is gone, never to come back….

How many orders have YOU experienced in the past that sought to limit how much you held your child, talked to your child, or even wrote your child? How many orders (and threats of jail), to stop you from loving your child?

I still have dreams of being an EQUAL parent to my son. How do I keep my Dream, my Faith, my Love? How do I build? On Tuesday I will take a piece of chalk and crouch in the cold in front of that Federal Building. There is NOT a Judges order in the world, or a jail sentence they can threaten me with, that will stop me from writing:

“Dom – I LOVE YOU!”

How about you?