Dear FAC Members and Advocates,
I don’t usually write the Weekly Update emails, but this week I have something on my heart that I need to share. Its my story, and I want to appeal to everyone with a loved one on the Registry, to tell their story for reasons I will explain below.
I am the mother of an incredible, wonderful, and handsome young man that I am very proud to call my son. To those who do not know him, he is called by other labels that simply do not define the man he is today. Nearly 16 years ago, at the age of 19, he made a poor decision to view improper images on his computer. That decision cost him dearly, as he lost his status in college, his job, his position on a US competition team, his safe environment at home, and his close relationships. Fast forward to today and he is 35 years old, owns a home, runs a successful business, is a motivating speaker and mentor, a man of faith, and a trusted friend with many strong relationships.
During the 16-year period between the offense and today, I have prayed everyday for me son to be safe. When he could not return to our home, he was forced to live among prostitutes and drug dealers; he battled a drug addiction and depression; he lost countless jobs and received threats on his life. In the days of his probation, I wanted his curfew to come each night so I knew he would be inside the protective metal shell of his tiny RV, and that we survived another day. Then I waited for daybreak each morning so I could receive his “Good Morning Mom” text message, letting me know that we survived the night. I say “WE” because it impacted both of us, and the entire family. We all lived just one day at a time.
As the years went by, there was no more probation, no more curfew, no more isolation…it was the beginning of what would be our limited freedom… OUR limited freedom because, as family members, WE live on the Registry as well. While the state leaders tried to separate my son from society under the guise of public safety, his family and friends held him near and strengthened our circle of support. He was not a number or a statistic; he was a human being, capable of making mistakes and equally capable of showing his remorse and ability to change behavior as a result of his mistakes. He deserved a chance to show the man he has truly became, instead of keeping him suppressed to live forever as though he is the same immature kid of 19.
Some things have changed over the years. Gradually, the voids have been filled with new activities and we have celebrated many successes. Other things have not changed. Life is still limited by an ever growing list of restrictions and ordinances, and I still wait for his calls and text messages that tell me “I’m okay Mom, and I love you.” That is my story.
What has happened in these 16 years has become an on-going nightmare that I share with other mothers, fathers, adult children and friends of loved ones on the Registry, as well as our Registered Citizens. It still stifles our activity during the day and awakens us at night. Despite the seemingly good life we can eventually claim, we approach everything with caution, and eyes behind our heads, always wondering when the next shoe will drop. This traumatic stress that we are experiencing is on the forefront of new research. It is real and it has a name: Post Conviction Traumatic Stress (PCTS).
We can do our part in the research of PCTS by telling our personal stories. We can change the public’s perception of those on the Registry by telling our personal stories. We can give the media human interest views of the Registry by telling our personal stories. We can also reach to souls of many others that control the future of the Registry and its reform by telling our personal stories. There are nearly 70,000 names on the FL Registry and one million nationwide. If only 365 family members speak up, we could send a new story to each Legislator everyday for a year.
Here is my appeal, to everyone with a loved ones on a Registry anywhere…..PLEASE UNITE….Tell your stories. We need more stories about “Families on the Registry” like those of Kathleen and Laura that now available on the FAC Youtube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/FloridaActionCommittee. If you are interested in telling your story, we will be starting a new coaching class to help you put your words together. Contact [email protected] or call 833-273-7325, Option 1.
The Florida Action Committee, Member Submission
40-Day DOUBLE Donation Challenge – Donations made to the ExPost Facto lawsuit cases between Dec 10-19 will be DOUBLED up to $4,000, including tax deductible donations sent to Justice Transitions, Inc. For more information see post below or email [email protected] or call 407-814-4203.
Housing and Employment Opportunity for the Right Person – Male, Female, or Couple. If you enjoy water life, you are comfortable in modest housing, and you are willing to work hard, then you may be the right person for this opportunity. An FAC advocate and owner of a Koi Fish farm in Northwest FL is looking for help. The job provides a 28-ft mobile home with utilities and base pay, located on their 3-acre family farm . It involves raising Koi fish and pond plants, shipping them to various locations, and occasional diving expeditions in the Gulf area (when qualified). There is a 90-day trial period. If you have an interest in applying, please call 833-REPEAL, Option 1 or email [email protected] . We will forward your information to the local County Coordinator to set up an interview with the business owner.
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.
Employment Opportunities in the Tampa area: Request #1. Landscaper to work on a yard including leveling the yard, changing some of the yard to mulch, and consulting on sod or seeding, weed removal, and possibly a flower garden. Request #2. Handyman to build a small deck, repair a tent shed, and help to build some simple storm windows. Request #3 House cleaning – prefer a couple for a full day of cleaning. Request #4. A FAC member who owns or works at a tree service to take down a sizable tree. If you are interested in any of these jobs, contact [email protected] or call 321-754-0446.
November 19 Friday at 7:00pm ET – Fearless Group Celebrates ONE YEAR of the Peer-led Support group – You are Not Alone. . Dial (727) 731-2927 to join in celebrating the one year anniversary of the Fearless Group and the peer leaders Daphne and Don. For more information about the support group, contact [email protected] or call 321-754-0446, or see Fearless Group Post
December 2 Thursday at 8:00pm ET – Monthly Membership Call – phone 319-527-3487. Topic: TBD. If unable to connect, text “CALL ME” to same number to receive call back and be joined to the meeting.
December 9 Thursday at 8:00pm ET – phone 319-527-3487. The New Member Orientation Call is open to all members to ask questions about the organization, share resources, discuss local issues and learn about volunteer opportunities. If unable to connect, text “CALL ME” to 319-527-3487 to receive call back and be joined to the meeting.
December 10 Friday – Brevard Re-Entry Task Force Meeting. 3:30 pm. Seeking Non-registered Volunteers to serve on the Sub-Committee for Registered Citizens. Contact [email protected] or call 407-814-4203 by December 9th.
December 11 Saturday Family Support sessions – 11:00am-1:00pm. Therapist-led group session via Zoom, for family member or loved ones of registered citizens only (not the for registered persons). Must be FAC member to participate. Contact [email protected] or call 833-273-7325, Option 1.
December 24 Friday (4:00pm-10:00 pm) and December 25 (4:00pm – 8:00pm) -Virtual Holiday Party. In planning stage. Wanted DJs, Game Hosts, Musicians, Singers, Comedians, and other talents to fill ten hours of entertainment. Have your moment in the spotlight and take the stage. If you want to host a segment of the party, contact [email protected] or call 833-273-7325, Option 1.
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)
The goal of the Ex Post Facto (EPF) legal challenge is to have the Florida registry recognized as punitive rather than administrative. The most immediate consequence of this would be that only laws and requirements active at the time of offense could be applied to a…read more
Don has a PhD in educational psychology and taught college classes for more than thirty years. He was once a news director at a radio station. The media are often portrayed as key sources of information about current events, and indeed do inform much of the time. Many…read more
Seeking to move away from labels that can work against a person’s rehabilitation, Colorado’s Sex Offender Management Board plans to vote Friday to replace the term “sex offender” in its own guiding principles. The board is considering several new terms, including…read more
The Reading Eagle, a newspaper in Reading, Pennsylvania, recently published a seemingly positive editorial on how Reading is helping residents of correctional institutions transition to a successful life of freedom, thereby benefiting “us all”. “In these divisive…read more
In the fall of 2019, The New York Times reported a record 45 million online photos and videos of CP, with the problem growing exponentially. Since the Times article came out, some police departments have spent money trying to update their technology departments in…read more
A man in Dutchess County who’s been forced to register as a sex offender says the registry is unconstitutional and he’s suing to be removed from it. According to Inner City Press, Karl Pennington was arrested two decades ago for kidnapping a 17-year-old. Currently…read more