Dear Members and Advocates,

One of the biggest advancements the Florida Action Committee has made during the last year was in our Media Committee. Led by our Committee Chair, Sarah, and assisted by a growing group of volunteers who have discovered that when armed with the facts and talking points, we can make an impact on public perception of people who are forced to register as sex offenders. An effective approach has been posting comments to online news articles.

When a news story gets posted containing a one-sided perspective, misinformation or much of the fear mongering we have come to expect whenever a “sex offender” story comes out, our Media Committee sees it as a chance to correct the journalist and present the true statistics. In some cases, where a completely outrageous article was posted, we initiated a call to action where hundreds of members (including members of other state’s affiliates) have contacted the author, their station and even the parent corporation. In several instances we have been successful in obtaining a correction or retraction. In all instances, at minimum, we’ve educated the news outlet’s audience and likely caused the journalist to think twice before putting out more garbage.

New media has given us opportunities that we previously didn’t have. Years ago, our only option was to shout at the television during the evening news or write a letter to the editor of a newspaper and hope our letter would be published days later, after nobody cared about the story anymore. With the advent of online news and social media, news has become more interactive and we are given the chance, in many cases, to share our opinion and insight instantly in the comments section below the article. We can also engage and debate with other readers.

Take, for example, a story that came out yesterday in Escambia County. An 18 year old was arrested and is facing two felony charges for having (consensual) sex with a 14-year old who admittedly lied and said she was 16. In this case, the article is not as important as the dialogue that’s taking place beneath it. As you can see, most commenters don’t think the teen deserves to be labeled a sex offender and have his life ruined. If you get a moment, please share your comments on that article or write to the station and ask them to cover the bigger picture – the registry is diluted by too many people who present very low risk to public safety.

Rather than being a passive activity and digesting whatever is published in the news as fact, new media enables us to become active. We need to take advantage of this opportunity. During the past few months, one of our members has taken charge of our YouTube channel and is consolidating video content relevant to our cause there. We also added a social media intern to our team. She is in the process of bringing the Florida Action Committee to Facebook, Twitter and other outlets where we can reach an audience that we previously didn’t have access to. We are also looking at producing our own content, including op-docs and public service announcements, which is very exciting.

The broader we spread our reach, the more people we can educate. To that end, we are always looking for volunteers to help out in our Media Committee. Ideally, someone with communications or journalism experience, public relations, media, video production or similar experience would be particularly helpful, but if you have access to the internet, decent communication skills, basic common sense and the desire to fight the registry, anyone can help. Best of all; this is a way you can contribute to our cause that costs you nothing!  [Side Note: for those who are wondering; thanks to the Internet Identifier Challenge that WE WON a couple years ago, Internet identifiers used to communicate with a news outlet DO NOT need to be reported to law enforcement.]

If you are interested in volunteering for our Media Committee, please write to [email protected]. Let’s all pitch in and accelerate our progress!

Sincerely,

The Florida Action Committee


Reminders:

Thursday July 16 at 7:00pm -Clay County FL Member call.  Dial 605-472-5596 and enter access ID 436675.  Your Clay County FAC Coordinators want to hear from you. Discuss the issues, housing, employment, resources and the upcoming elections up in your area.  Get Involved.

Tuesday July 21 2:00 pm ET. There are 4 weeks left in the FAMM and Florida Cares Summer Camp taught by Greg and Denise each Tuesday through August 11th aimed at teaching families and directly impacted folks about the legislative process, bills, candidates and about criminal justice reform in Florida so that everyone can be make the most educated and informed decisions in 2020 regarding their incarcerated loved one and advocate for them in the best way possible.   IMPORTANT: You must register for each class and classes are limited so sign up TODAY! ⇢ Link to register for the FAMM & Florida Cares Summer Camp Classes  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Thursday Aug 6 at 8pm ET- FAC Monthly Member Call. Dial 319-527-3487.  If unable to connect, text “Call Me” to 319-527-3487.  You will receive a call-back and be connected to the conference. Guest Lisa Anne Zilney, PhD.  She will present on her most recent research with male and female registrants, and discuss her latest book Impacts of Sex Crime Laws on the Female Partners of Convicted Offenders: Never Free of Collateral Consequences

Saturday Aug 8 from 11am-1pm ET.  Family Support Session via Zoom (non-registrants only – intended for family members and others with loved ones on the Registry.  Must be FAC member and RSVP to [email protected] to receive Zoom link.

Thursday Aug 13 at 8pm ET- FAC New Member Orientation Call. Dial 319-527-3487.  If unable to connect, text “Call Me” to 319-527-3487.  You will receive a call-back and be connected to the conference.

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