As you know, April is child abuse prevention month. I would have liked to return to the Governor’s mansion for another meeting speaking about Child Protective Services and thing we could do to fix the broken system here in Georgia.
However, since that did not happen this time I am wanting to do something a little different.
Terri Stoddard is a nature and animal loving, 50-something egalitarian, San Francisco Bay Area native, mom of four and grandma to two. After providing child day care for twenty-five years, foster care for ten, and co-founding the Respite Center for Parent and Child, Teri is now Program Director for Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE), a victim advocacy organization reforming domestic violence laws with evidence-based solutions. Continuing her child advocacy, Teri examines national family rights and issues affecting San Francisco Bay Area families. In her tenure, writing different articles of the dispositions of child protective services to start with. http://www.examiner.com/family-rights-in-national/teri-stoddard In my own plight for justice, I met Teri in and around 2008. I am mentioning Teri because of the article she wrote, featuring John Murtari.
Martin Luther King wrote: “Nonviolent resistance … is based on the conviction that the universe is on the side of justice. Consequently, the believer in nonviolence has deep faith in the future. This faith is another reason why the nonviolent resister can accept suffering without retaliation. For he knows that in his struggle for justice he has cosmic companionship.”
Inspired by Martin Luther King and Gandhi, John Murtari of Lyons, New York is practicing civil disobedience by personal sacrifice while incarcerated in the Wayne County jail. He has not eaten or had any water since he was arrested Monday night for driving without a license. On Friday Murtari was moved to the medical ward where they could monitor his health more closely.
Murtari claims he doesn’t owe thousands of dollars in child support the State says he owes, so his license should not have been suspended. He says the support was calculated with a salary he no longer had, and travel expenses to see his son Dominic exceed the amount ordered after the courts allowed his ex-wife to move
their son across the country.
Murtari, a quiet, thoughtful man and ex Air Force Training Pilot, was at one time planning on being a priest. He was in pre-seminary training when he realized he couldn’t give up the experience of having a family. After his divorce Murtari saw how many families were adversely affected by bad family laws. He founded akidsright.org, a group that believes the right to parent our children urgently needs to be protected.
“One foundation of morality is the supremacy of individual conscience – what many know as “let your conscience be your guide.” What more natural obligation does any parent have than to care for their own kids? To be present in their lives in the many roles that only a parent can fill,” wrote Murtari in an essay about civil
rights on his website. http://www.kids-right.org/protest_jm.htm
“I wasn’t expecting this,” he said in a weak voice by phone Friday, “They were waiting for me outside my home.” Murtari cooperated with police, but went passive once at the jail. Officers had to undress Murtari and put him in a jumpsuit.
Now that I have given you the story about John, there is another father with similar activities that John Murtari had protested while he was in jail. I am speaking about John Hicks. I received a noticed from John Murtari’s website email list asking for correspondence to be written to show our appreciation to John Hicks. The following below is the email that I received.
Email from John Murtari.
John contacted me weeks ago. A story I’d both heard & lived too
many times. Behind in “child support payments” and facing jail.
John loves his teenage daughter very much, but of course the
system promotes alienation and “winner take all”. It appears
money isn’t a real motivator here.
His former spouse told him that if he just forgets about every
seeing his daughter, “child support payments” will be forgotten
and he won’t face more jail in the future.
He turned that down. He’s now in the Dutchess County jail.
Even jails have nice websites!
He’s 62 years old and has decided to go on a hunger strike,
fasting to call attention to the injustice.
I encourage you, nicely, to call the Jail/Sheriff, and ask how
John is doing. Are they taking care of him? It appears they
may be keeping him isolated/segregated — ask about that.
Sheriff Anderson: (845) 486-3800
Take a moment, please write him a letter, let him know you care:
Mr. John Hicks
Dutchess County Jail
P.O. Box 1389
Poughkeepsie, New York 12602
Oh! And if you are in the area and can visit him in jail, that’s
huge! One of the great acts of mercy:
“I was a prisoner and you visited me.”
So for the month of April and more than that, I intend on making this my plight in contacting the sheriff’s office in charge and to write John Hicks in letting him know that there are people out there that care. Will you join me? Thanking you in advance.