Dear Members and Advocates,

We read in articles so often that parents are horrified that someone with a past sex offense could be living close by.  When such fear takes over, rational thinking stops.

Florida’s newly appointed Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo stated in a news conference this past week that Floridians need to reject fears as a way of making policies.  How right Dr. Ladapo is.

Just this past week, two men with a past sex offense, who have not re-offended since release from prison, are being forced to relocate after it became known that they were living in a nonprofit senior housing complex in San Mateo County, California.  This complex happens to be located adjacent to a child care center.  Because of fear, some parents are withdrawing their children from the center, even though these two gentlemen are staying away from the child care center.

Members of the Columbia Youth Football Association in Lake City, Florida postponed their annual and much-celebrated football jamboree because a person with a past sex offense is serving on the board for the park.  He, too, has not re-offended since release from prison.  A follow-up story revealed that this registrant is the president of the board for the Annie Mattox Park.  Not only did the other board members vote for him to become a board member, but they thought highly enough of him to also elect him as president of the board.  There are probably many people who have frequented this park on a regular basis while this man has been serving as president of the board.  There have been no past problems with this man serving on the board, so why would the association disappoint so many people by postponing the jamboree?  Unmerited fear.

In the recent Member Submission: Caring About Children, the fear that families have and the need to feel safe from registrants are all a result of the myths perpetrated by our society.

Regardless of how you feel about Dr. Ladapo, I think we all agree on his point that we cannot let our fears dictate our policy-making decisions.   In “How to stop making decision out of fear”, Chiara Mazzucco says, “When we let fear rule our decision-making, we relinquish control over our lives.  We become more reactive and less proactive.”  The bottom line is that we cannot think straight.

Long before entering the police state of living on the registry, I never had any fears about people on the registry.  I knew they were people who had made a mistake and apparently learned from their mistake as I never saw police cars at their house arresting them.  I would have been afraid of gang leaders, armed robbers, and active shooters, but never someone on the registry, and I had children living with me. 

So why are so many parents today afraid of so many people who would never harm them or their children?  A major part of the problem is all the misinformation out there on the internet (social media) which spills over into other media outlets.  We all know that the problem is with ignorance, meaning lack of correct information.  This is why it is going to be so important that we inundate the Florida Safety and Justice Task Force that will be working the next 8 to 9 months traveling the state to meet with different groups to discuss and develop policy regarding Florida’s criminal justice system.  The task force will gather the brimming forward-thinking ideas from Florida citizen groups and draft them into legislative proposals and ordinances with the next step being to work with local and state leaders to bring such policies to fruition.  Florida Action Committee with all its members must be an active part of this process.

Please let FAC know of any information you find out about this task force, particularly when the other members are named.  We now have an opportunity to have policies implemented based on research rather than fear.  What overall effect we can have on the outcome of the work of this task force we do not know, but the results of doing nothing, we do know – policies will continue to be based on fear.

Sincerely,

The Florida Action Committee

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Reminders:

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. 

September 30 Thursday at 7 pm – NARSOL conference call to discuss Scarlet Legal Action Project (SLAP). Dial 605 313-5169, enter code 957605#. Conference (Audio only) also be available livestream on Youtube.   See Post below for complete details.

September 30 Thursday at 7 pm ~ Fearless Group – Peer-led Support meeting – You are Not Alone. Call.  Dial (727) 731-2927.  Join in the discussion with peer leaders Daphne and Don.  Contact [email protected] or call 321-754-0446.  For more information see https://floridaactioncommittee.org/fearless-group-call-tonight/

October 7 Thursday at 8:00pm ET – Monthly Membership Call – phone 319-527-3487. Topic: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).   If unable to connect, text “CALL ME” to same number to receive call back and be joined to the meeting.

October 8-10 – Houston TX – NARSOL Annual Conference.  Livestream access is available for $40.  Visit https://narsol.org/category/conference-news-and-highlights/ to view conference highlights.  We plan to have an FAC meeting in Houston for members attending the conference.  If you are attending the conference and want to be included, please notify [email protected] or leave message at  833-273-7325, Option 1.

October 14 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.

October 16 Saturday – REGULAR TIME 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.

 

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)


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