December 12, 2002
Dear Senator Clinton:
I am a coordinator for a group of parent's seeking National Family Law reform (http://www.AKidsRight.Org/ ). I was recently released from Jail after being given a ten day sentence by a Federal Magistrate Judge in Syracuse, New York. This was for a peaceful effort occurring outside your offices on the 14th floor. I was quietly carrying a picture of parents and children unjustly separated by our Nation's Family Law "systems." It is an attempt to arrange a meeting between you and parents on this issue.
For over a year now we have attempted contacts with your local and Washington offices, some of us have even made the long drive to Washington (on our personal time and money) and no one from your staff could meet with us. We have written many letters to you and staff, but have just been unable to get a meaningful dialog started. Our web site documents our past efforts to reach you and what the response has been ( http://www.AKidsRight.Org/newyork.htm ). We would like to schedule a personal meeting here with you and parents effected by our system.
On December 30th I will be returning to the building, and others may join me, to continue this effort (and the Judge has already told me I can expect a more severe sentence). We all hope this can be avoided by a positive response from you. I certainly know you care about children and family issues and am at a loss to understand the difficulty we have had in establishing a dialog. Several people have written you regarding this and I include additional copies of their letters for your review. I also have include copies of three recent newspapers stories reporting on these events. [links below]
The issue is Civil Rights
We believe recognizing parents have a basic Human Right to participate in the lives of their children is obvious - but is the time right? We are asking you to take the time to listen and see what is really happening - and to also draw analogy to the past, as you consider the many Members of Congress who have proceeded you in this Nation's history.
Have you ever wondered what those members were thinking of TWENTY years
What would the response have been by you and your staff to:
Would you have told them to go back, get better organized (and maybe - you have to wait, we are in the middle of a war or other crisis?). We all like to be "proactive." Would you have taken the risk and lead on the issue before the rest of the Nation was ready to follow? The "Freedom Riders" sat in the front of the bus and were hauled off to jail. Do we have to make that same Sacrifice for the Love of our children also? We are parents asking you to recognize the God given right we have to be with our children, for protection from well intentioned government interference. Please help us.
Protection of Family Rights
We have a DRAFT Family Rights Act at our web site, http://www.AKidsRight.Org/act.htm . It is an attempt to restore balance in Family Law nationwide. Each state had the ability to establish its own criminal code and procedures, but was still required to remain within the U.S. Constitutions guarantees of: a presumption of innocence, real proof, and the protection of a Jury. There has been an explosion in well intentioned Family Law produced in each state, but without the firm guidance of our Constitution. The words "best interest of the child" have been used to justify any state action. WE ARE NOT calling for MORE FEDERAL INTERFERENCE, but less. The recognition of established constitutional protections to protect families
We only ask the same principles used to protect liberty, also protect the bond between parents and children (probably an even more valued freedom) - the presumption of equal parenting, real proof, and the protection of a Jury. Respectfully yours,
CC: Kathy Calhoun, Syracuse Regional Rep.
ATTACH (follow link to see scanned image):
1. Mr. David Shackleton, Ottawa, Canada