Dear Members and Advocates:
This past weekend we celebrated Independence Day, commemorating the Declaration of Independence of the United States. The holiday celebrates this nation’s breaking free of the British on July 4, 1776, who they felt were oppressive and unjust.
So what were some of these things the colonists were complaining about? Within the Declaration of Independence was a list of their gripes. These included many of the oppressions we face as people required to register as sex offenders. “He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures” – Isn’t that what Brevard County is doing by conducting their Commission meetings at a place registrants can’t be present – even when they are voting on ordinances that directly impact them? “He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people” The SMART Office (Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking), Angel Watch and every County’s SPOT Unit (Sexual Predator and Offender Tracking Unit) are offices established to monitor, track, register and apprehend us. And those are the less blatant gripes!
Anyhow, believing things were so bad for them, the colonists set out to form the noblest constitution, and at it’s core would be the fundamental premise that, “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It all sounds wonderful, but even at that time, the colonists were hardly in the “liberty and justice for all” mode. One of the authors of the Declaration, Thomas Jefferson, owned more than 600 slaves during his lifetime. It was more like “liberty and justice for all… except…”
Within the past month we reported on Governor Ron DeSantis summarily denying all of the applications for restoration of civil rights for anybody who is on the sex offender registry. Just two weeks ago the topic of our weekly update was a new law went into effect that creates a rebuttable presumption of dangerousness to ones own child, where a judge cannot allow timesharing to a parent who is on the registry unless the judge makes a finding, in writing (good luck getting that to happen). Hardly liberty and justice for all!
As I enjoyed the holiday eating hot dogs and watching fireworks with my family and friends, it was very hard not to be bothered by the hypocrisy of celebrating the preamble “all men are created equally”, when that presumption clearly doesn’t apply to me. It was also very hard not to feel guilty that I was able to spend the holiday with family and friends, while many of those among us are legislated into homelessness by residency restrictions.
Each holiday I make it a point to appreciate what I do have, but think of those who do not. It inspires me to pick one task to perform in the coming week that will improve our condition. This week will be no different. Whether that will be writing a letter to my legislators, introducing someone to Florida Action Committee, reaching out to a local social services group to ask what they are doing to help the homeless registrants, making a donation to one of our legal challenges, or all of the above. This is the best way for us to demand the life, liberty and right to pursue happiness that were supposedly granted to us nearly 250 years ago. I hope you will challenge yourself to do the same this coming week.
Finally, a Tropical Storm or Hurricane is projected to hit the west coast of Florida this coming week. Last year we compiled a list of emergency evacuation procedures for registrants and compiled them here: https://floridaactioncommittee.org/resources/hurricane-shelter-procedures/ If your county does not have a procedure posted, please contact their emergency management department and share that information with [email protected]
Please have a productive and safe week!
The Florida Action Committee
Housing is Needed – We receive calls daily from members looking for housing. If you have housing to rent or purchase, please contact email [email protected] or call 833-273-7325, option 1. We will only share the information with the FAC Outreach team and the County Coordinator in your area.
Research Studies – Voluntary Participation. Shelley Kavanagh (Doctorial Candidate) is conducting one-on-one phone interviews with mothers of registered citizens living in Florida. For more information about the study and how to schedule an interview, click here.
July 7 Wednesday at 7:00 pm – Fearless Group – Peer-led Support meeting – You are Not Alone. Dial (727) 731-2927
July 8 Thursday at 8:00pm ET – New Member Orientation Call – phone 319-527-3487. Ask questions about the organization, share resources, discuss local issues and learn about volunteer opportunities. If unable to connect, text “CALL ME” to same number to receive call back and be joined to the meeting.
July 10 Saturday – 11:00am-1:00pm ET. Therapist-led Family Support Session via Zoom. Limited participation. Email [email protected] or leave message at 833-273-7325 Option 1 for access to the Monthly group session.
July 17 Saturday (NEW DATE) 1:00pm-4:00pm Titusville (Brevard) Meet and Greet. For location, text “RSVP Brevard” with your name and number of attendees to 904-452-8322 or email [email protected]
Aug 5 Thursday at 8:00pm ET – Monthly Member Call – phone 319-527-3487. Topic: Legal issues and Updates. If unable to connect, text “CALL ME” to same number to receive call back and be joined to the meeting.
Need to Talk? FAC has peer volunteers that are here to talk one-on-one, call 904-452-8322. Volunteers are not available 24/7 but you will receive a call as soon as possible. If you have an emergency, call 911, or helpline at 1-800-273-8255 or a crisis center (Listing of Crisis Centers and Hotlines)
SOME HEADLINES FROM THIS WEEK
On June 8, the American Law Institute, arguably the most prestigious non-governmental law reform organization in the country, concluded its national meeting. One of its agenda items was to have its thousands of elected members-top federal appeals judges among them,…
In the wake of the recently completed legislative session in Colorado’s General Assembly, I have lingering concerns regarding House Bill 1320, a piece of “sunset” legislation extending the Colorado Sex Offender Management Board which was passed and sent to the…
Since launching one year ago, our YouTube Channel has grown to 275 subscribers and we’d like to see it continue to grow! The Channel features videos intended to educate the public on facts vs. myths about persons required to register as sex offenders. There are also…
Yesterday, Governor DeSantis signed HB 1313 into law. This bill brings Florida up to date with modern technology by establishing a “Digital proof of driver license”. The Digital proof of driver license is an electronic credential viewable on an electronic…