People of Faith,
On March 31st I will be getting back to real NonViolent action.
Returning to the Federal Building with some chalk and I'll start
writing on the exterior building walls -- that will probably result
in arrest and an easy conviction. In the past I have always plead
not guilty to various charges, but this time, even I will say I must
be guilty of something, people can't draw all over the sides of
Federal Buildings! What could motivate this? What can it
Again, as I write I'm on a flight out West to pickup my son for
Spring Break and a whole week together. It is going to be hectic,
we have a lot planned, so I need to get this written now. Once I am
with Dom, everything else can wait. I want to thank the people who
sent in some excellent FEEDBACK to earlier messages, that will be
As many of you know, during the last month I have been going to the
Syracuse Federal Building a couple of times a week. Each time I
take out some chalk and write on the ground near the entrance "Dom -
I Love You. Senator Clinton - Help Us!" After an initial arrest,
the US Attorney's office asked that charges be dismissed and no one
has bothered me since. Writing it on a wall will be different.
A Quick Summary - details
In early February it was a great thing to have Cathy Hughes
actually volunteer to stand with me.
Participate in the effort to convince Senator Clinton she needs to
meet personally with parents about reform and call for Congressional
Hearings (if they have time to do it for Baseball and steroids --
how about Family Rights and our Kids?). At the time we didn't know
what officials would do and there was a very real chance we would
both be arrested. Cathy was willing to face handcuffs and jail to
send a message -- and do it out of love for her kids with a smile.
Wow! Is she great or what!
We got some TV coverage and I really thought this might be the start
of a larger effort. Since then I have returned to the building on
Tuesday and Thursdays at 2 PM. Each time I have waited till 2:15 pm
before taking out the chalk. Who was I waiting for? Other parents.
How many showed? None. What does it say about my abilities to
coordinate and motivate people to participate -- poor results.
NonViolent Action is about demonstrating belief by personal
sacrifice -- and other than standing in the cold; there hasn't been
much of that either lately. It is time for a change, to get back to
Talk/Writing vs. Physical Action
I don't know about you, but sometimes I get tired of all the talk.
Seeing a list message about the latest 'scandal' or 'injustice.' The
Internet makes it easy to 'talk', but if all we do is shake our
heads and swear under our breaths, and feel persecuted -- if we
don't take 'action', is anything going to really change? If we just
'talk', can we really 'communicate' with others?
Please the following is not science, but it may get the idea across.
We are used to talking/writing, but in the great evolutionary scale
-- it is pretty untested technology. For millions of years
communication was just basic sound and conveyed simple information:
romance, prey, predator, aggression, injury. It is still used by
almost all other life on the planet.
What about talk, using finely modulated sound waves to control the
behavior of others? What about writing, the use of visible glyphs
to communicate detailed thought. The use of words? Pretty cutting
edge stuff -- has a lot of advantages, but maybe we haven't worked
all the bugs out of it. How about parents that think you can raise
kids by 'talking' to them about how they should act? That a lot of
'talking' will make up for 'showing'? Is that crazy or what?
We want to convince the Nation how unjustly we have been
treated. How pained we are over the loss of our children. How GREAT
a RIGHT has been violated and needs protection. You think that is
going to happen by just writing and talking? History says no way.
I don't know about you, but I react to 'imagery'. Sometimes people
talk and talk and talk to me about how the 'system' screwed them --
but I just don't know. I wasn't there. If they tell a good story
about them and their kids, I can see the image in my mind, I can
feel it -- but most people aren't good story tellers (still working
the bugs out of the new technology).
Stand in Action, create Imagery
But when I see a parent and child together in a great hug -- I don't
need to hear a word. I don't need to be told about their love. When
I see pictures of peaceful blacks hauled off to jail -- I don't need
to be told about the depth of their beliefs. When I see a crucifix
-- I don't need to be told about Faith in a loving God. Good
The campaign of F-4-J, childhood superheroes risking arrest for the
sake of their kids. Good imagery. You don't have to tell me you
love your kids and the system 'wronged' you -- your ACTION makes it
Will some of you stand with me?
On March 31st, you are of course welcome to come and watch. It is
nice to have someone there and always makes me smile. But I hope
some of you will contact me and say you are also ready to take some
chalk to a wall, face arrest, and create imagery. I really would
like to send out a News Release before the event to get some media
there -- but I've got to know people are going to be there. No more
waiting till 2:15.
Some of you might make a very reasonable argument, "John, wait a
bit, it is not effective if you are alone. Try to get more people
first." Does that really make any sense at all?
NonViolent Action and Faith?
If you haven't done so yet, take the time to read some REAL history
about Civil Rights and NonViolent Action:
I'd like people to stand with me, but who do I stand with? Jesus of
Nazareth. The imagery I want to create is simple, I LOVE DOMENIC!
The imagery he wanted to create was huge: we are all brothers and
sisters, children of the same 'papa', a caring and loving God. How
many people were needed to create that effective imagery -- mount
the cross. Just one.
Because he did that, I'm willing to try to stand with him and act
with a very, very, small portion of the Faith he had. To start to
paint a very small image and I hope some of you will join me. When
you look at the sacrifice required to produce some of the great
images of the past, the risk of handcuffs and a few days in jail is
a real bargain!
Will it be effective and have meaning if it is ONLY me? Of course.
Can anything 'bad' happen when we demonstrate our love? Of course
not. Perhaps some 'pain', but nothing 'bad.'
Hope to see your there!
Best wishes for a Happy Easter!