(Weekly Update #223)
Dear Members and Advocates,
For those of you who receive these weekly updates and read them, thank you.
Writing these weekly updates and contributing content to the Florida Action Committee is an opportunity to share news and updates with the FAC community and inform our members of new legislation that is being considered, or old legislation that is being challenged. Sometimes, it can also be an emotional release for the writer. As one of the volunteers for FAC, I am on the front line of a lot of the correspondence that comes in and most of it is very heartbreaking. We hear from family members whose loved ones on the registry are living on the streets, can’t find employment to support their families, are unable to participate in family events, or are suffering from an illness they are not able to get proper care for, all because of the registry. Listening to these stories weighs on me. Not only because they are often so tragic, but because they turn to us as the one avenue of hope – the only ones that seem to care, and very often we are not able to help. It’s a lot to take in and the emotions have to be let out somewhere, so I write.
Whether it’s weekly updates, content for the site, responding to member letters and emails or whether it’s writing lawmakers to state support or opposition to a bill, the exercise of writing gives me the opportunity to do something to help effectuate change, which makes me feel productive and hopeful. Feeling productive and hopeful is what keeps me motivated. While serving as a volunteer for FAC is a challenging responsibility, it is also a tremendous privilege. I am humbled to know that my words are being read by hundreds of people several times per week and grateful to be a part of an organization that has helped so many over the course of more than a decade. It is truly a gratifying opportunity.
We want to share that opportunity with all of you. From time to time FAC takes on initiatives to help support active litigation. Donations we collected have helped kickstart legal challenges and fund expert witnesses and other costs. But there are other ways that we can help these cases which don’t involve giving money. One such way is providing declarations in support of the Plaintiffs in these cases. A declaration is a sworn, written statement presented to the court that backs up the plaintiff’s claims. For example, if a claim states that the reduction of the notice period (for establishing a temporary residence) from 5 days to 3 has made short-term travel impractical or impossible because of the burdens associated with complying with the “in person” registration or the fact that registration offices are not open 24/7, it’s one thing to just give the named plaintiff’s experience, but it’s more effective to give dozens more examples from others.
Over the years, so many of you have written to us, letting us know about the hardships you’ve experienced as a result of the registry. NOW is the time for you to share those experiences. Registrants and others impacted by this law (including family, friends and employers) are invited to submit declarations. Not only will it help these cases, but it will hopefully help you feel productive by being a part of a challenge. We have written more about the process of submitting a declaration concerning the 3 day notice requirement and having a branded driver’s license here: https://floridaactioncommittee.org/have-you-been-impacted-by-floridas-3-day-requirements-or-drivers-license-branding/. Please read that post and if you have information to support the challenge, consider this your opportunity to do something and be part of an effort to change things for yourself and tens of thousands of others.
We also want to share with you the opportunity to volunteer for FAC. We need more volunteers in each of our current committees (Media, Education, Outreach, Legal, Legislative, Membership), plus we need volunteers to help head up some of the subcommittees we are creating to address specific needs of some of the sub-groups among us (Elder Care, Women on the registry, LGBTQ+ registrants, Registrants of color, homeless registrants, Military Veterans), and we need operational help in running our organization (accounting, administrative help, marketing, fundraising, video production and editing, social media management) and more. There are so many areas where help is desperately needed and there are so many opportunities for you to be a part of the difference.
In the first paragraph, I mentioned that writing this weekly update is an emotional release. It begins with a bit of stress but ends with a lot of satisfaction. With a distribution list of more than 2000 people, it’s a pretty big platform and a lot of pressure comes with addressing a large audience. I need to come up with a topic, often I need to do some research, and then I need to find the time to put something together. But once it’s done and sent to other board members for approval, I feel as though a great burden has been lifted. Not just for having crossed the task off my to-do list, but for having engaged with our members, many of which rely on this organization for support, information and community. No matter who prepares the Update, or posts to our forum, or distributes a Call to Action, seeing our members respond is what brings the satisfaction. Occasionally, someone will thank us for the message reminding them they are not in this alone, or others will chime in with suggestions, information and help, or people show up to meetings or write letters in response to a call to action. We are able to see the difference even the smallest of efforts makes. It is very rewarding.
Volunteering, responding to a call to action, showing up to a meeting or submitting a declaration can be very intimidating. You may feel you’re not the best writer, or not the most knowledgeable about the topic, or afraid of putting a target on your back, or wondering where you will ever find the time to do anything meaningful for the cause. It’s a stressful first step. But none of our volunteers have any formal training in what we do and nobody got into this situation with advance knowledge about the topic. We have all found the time and courage to take that first step and we encourage each of you to do the same. Please find it within yourself to do something to help our cause today! Whether it’s submitting a declaration, making a donation, or volunteering for one of our committees or subcommittees, we need your help and we want you to have the satisfaction of helping others, and helping yourself.
With Unity Comes Change!
The Florida Action Committee
See Calendar of Events – Keep up with Meet-and-Greets in your area, Support groups, Membership Calls, and other events. For questions, contact [email protected] or call 833-273-7325,Option 1.
Click Here for Calendar, and double click on the event to view details and RSVP instructions
Aug 20 – Meet-and-Greet in Daytona
Aug 26 – Women Only Meet-and-Greet – Fort Lauderdale
Aug 27 – Meet and Greet in Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood
Become a County Coordinator. The only requirement is your desire to HELP us organize your county. If you are interested in joining the County Coordinator Team, leave message at 833-273-7325, Option 1, or email [email protected]
Letter-Writing Campaigns – If you would like to participate in sending educational information to specific decision makers in Florida, please contact [email protected]. Volunteers must be willing to proudly identify themselves by using their own name and return address on the letters.
SOME HEADLINES FROM THE WEEK
Does your County charge a fee for re-registration or updating information (ie: vehicles owned, temporary address, etc.)? If so, please provide your county and the amount they charge in the comments. If not, please provide your county and specify they do not. If you…
The US Department of Justice SMART office has released it’s 2022 case law summary. From their introduction, “This summary is current through July 2022 and addresses the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), including SORNA’s requirements, and…
It’s heartbreaking to admit it, but I sometimes wish that Adam, our severely intellectually disabled son, will die before me and my husband, Robert. Our fear of the future never ends: Where will he live? How will he manage? Who will take care of him? The anxiety is…
You know how the sentence is going to end. …except registrants. A New York City Councilman, Keith Powers, sponsored the “Fair Chance for Housing Act,” that would prohibit landlords from excluding most potential tenants with a criminal history, or even asking whether…
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