2014 conference a success

By Brenda Jones . . .

What a GREAT conference we had this year! Thanks to the hard work and planning of our conference planning team and the many volunteers from Texas Voices, and the wonderful behind-the-scenes help provided by the staff at Skillman Church of Christ, everything ran very smoothly overall. I was able to meet and mingle with many of you and was able to sit in on most of the sessions. The ones I didn’t get to, I’ve heard about, so I’m able to write a good report this year.

We had more re-entry advocates in attendance this year, which was great to see and I hope the trend continues. Although RSOL itself is focused more broadly on the huge number of persons who have completed their sentences but continue to be punished by public registration, many states are adding lifetime or indeterminate sentencing to their laws for sex offenders. It is important for advocates to understand about the impact of these laws so that we can fight their introduction elsewhere and eventually seek their repeal or modification. Our re-entry allies are also a wonderful resource, as they have often been “in the biz” far longer and can offer or direct people to more services and support than we can as advocates.

What we are still NOT seeing as much of, is professionals from related fields. I would like to repeat the challenge we issued a couple of times during the conference, with a special twist. Our challenge to each attendee was “Each one, bring one.” We need to make more effort to get others to attend, in general, and get them fired up for change. What I would like to add is that we need in particular to reach out to mental health professionals, social workers, attorneys, even sympathetic law enforcement officers (yes, they are out there) and get THEM involved and encourage them to attend next year.

One theme that came out of the conference was about our stories… their importance, how to tell them, who to tell them to, and so on. Although we did not push for a lot of media attention this year, we had many opportunities to learn from experienced journalists, television and radio persons how to interact with media as well as simply connecting with with neighbors, community leaders, and lawmakers to start changing people’s perception of who is on the registry. With a change in that perception, we can hope to start changing people’s hearts, and changing laws.

The critical role of popular perception of former sexual offenders is another important point brought up by many speakers and presenters during our conference. For seasoned advocates, perhaps, it is a no-brainer… so much so that we forget how critical it is for our audience to understand. I would say that nearly ALL of us, no matter what our original background, got involved because we had a personal encounter that we knew was “just wrong.” In time, our eyes became opened to the incredibly broad sweep of the laws. People outside of our movement have not had that eye-opening. What kept coming out was the importance of hammering and repeating that easily 80-90% of former sexual offenders are NOT who everyone assumes they are. Once people have started doubting that stereotype, and instead recognize that those folks could easily be ME or MY loved one, the tide will start to turn.

Another theme that emerged was the importance of EVERY person getting involved. One way was through the storytelling, of course. But attendees also were encouraged to speak up, not just as advocates in our states, but by finding our voices within RSOL, and getting directly involved in its work. If you have a great idea and are trying to put wings on it, find some folks to get the job done, write up a proposal, and we will help you as long as it is within RSOL’s Vision, Mission and Goals. If you see an RSOL Goal that you really want to move forward more quickly and are willing to jump in and make that happen, step right up and let us know what you can do! We also have a number of urgent tasks from small to large that need doing, which range from writing, to website content building and research, to managing a wiki, that individuals can tackle as their abilities allow. RSOL is only as effective as YOU can make it.

To conclude, I think this year’s conference was the best yet. Stay tuned and check back to our conference site at rsolconference.org for videos of the speakers and presentations. Keep up the good work, and see you next year!

 

10 comments for “2014 conference a success

  1. Brad - WA
    September 18, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    Thanks to all that started this movement. I found out about this group by finally being proactive about my frustrations about the legal mafia, from police all the way to politician.
    I would like to ask those who refer to hands-on or hands-off offenses to consider this. While in prison I experienced what I thought were much more horrific crimes, but there I was amongst them.
    I learned later who some of them were as people, not just by the crimes they committed. We’re all together in this. Unlike politics or the religion in this country that is attempting to divide us. One strength this cause needs, unity.
    I am an incest survivor, as I state this many questions could arise. My struggles within from my own victimization has put me in a place I never understood until I was discovered by my wife, my one love who wants me dead. If only I’d trusted her with what happened to me as a child. Right? Where would we be now?
    Eight years in December, I know for sure now, I don’t have to feel alone anymore. For me, that’s never been an easy place.
    I just want to thank again, all those who have made this forum available

  2. maggyy
    July 30, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    Well RSOL is growing. I went to the first conference in Boston, and hopefully will get to the next one. I am planning on moving to NH. I thought NC, but….maybe in a few years. My sons attorney has taken a real interest in whats happening. He has been his lawyer on and off. He was a public defender. His interest and outrage at the laws peeked when my son was arrested for not registering (he had just gotten back to MA). The attorney is now consulting others on the laws, and he is truly baffled? angry? at what he believed in, doesn’t exist for registered citizens. To me it doesn’t matter, hands on, computer porn, whatever. Constitutional rights, Civil rights ect are being taking away on a daily basis. If lawyers took an oath, then they to should be concerned. It won’t stop here, or with registered citizens, it will spread like a poison if not stopped. I am truly sorry if one feels they do not belong on the registry, but NONE do. The registry should not even be in existence. I will continue to educate, and support those in need of help. I find being honest has served us well with family neighbors and friends, United we Stand, Maggy

    • Tom
      August 1, 2014 at 12:43 am

      Hello Maggy. Thank you for your words of encouragement and support. We need more people like you in this world who understand the lies and misrepresentation being used to publicly shame people who by-and-large are NO danger to anyone at all. It is said that only 5% of the people on the Public Shaming list are likely dangerous. So, why are the rest of us in the 95% forced to publicly be shamed in 3 different locations on the Internet?

      Thanks to our very corporately owned (fascism) Supreme Court, registering is not considered a punishment. Well, it puts families of registrants in danger, it ruins the lives of the registrants themselves, and puts them in danger of vigilantes who have actually murdered registrants – even up here in NH and RECENTLY. That’s NOT a punishment? Actively putting people in danger? It just doesn’t make sense until you see how much money and political power is made from these unconstitutional laws which live and breathe on public ignorance and paranoia.

      I have to go re-register soon. It’s very humiliating, no matter how painless the process may seem. To stand there and have my picture taken like I’m being booked all over again. And to have to do this for the rest of my life because something was on my computer? I’ve never committed any hands-on offense with any person and never would. But, I am listed as someone who would if not kept away from children. We, Registrants are given no 2nd chance like other felons are who actively re-offend time and time again.

      This really must change. The Registry doesn’t help anyone, it only endangers people (especially children) by making people paranoid about even helping a child in a public place. People are more likely to pass that child by, especially men, because of the fear of these ridiculous fascist policies.

    • NH Registrant
      August 1, 2014 at 11:35 am

      I just found out from a close friend that NH is now collecting DNA from ALL Registrants….AGAIN. They had to do it when the law was put in effect a couple years ago. But, someone decided they shoudl take it twice. We’re so sinister that we can change our DNA, too! Amazing! How many more times can the state violate our constitutional rights?

      The police themselves actually think this is getting insane and completely unnecessary. They believe the registry should be PRIVATE and they would only keep tabs on the repeat offenders and the really dangerous. It’s a complete waste of manpower and tax dollars to do this. But, since politicians love to get votes from ignorant, paranoid people, they’re out of control and bigger criminals now than any convicted felon. Violating the oath you take when taking office and becoming an officer of the law is a federal crime. Yet, they do it every day. Honestly, this may sound weird, but: Perhaps it should get worse and start to encompass not only ALL felons, but regular people as well. Look at the uproar over the mass surveillance state now after the politicians strengthened the police state after 9/11! People are VERY angry! Perhaps the situation getting worse will finally show the ignorant public how much this kind of practice is VERY dangerous to all people!

    • NH Registrant
      August 1, 2014 at 11:43 am

      Beware if you move to NH. They are extremely nasty to any registrant that moves into the area or visits. They put any new registrants who move into the area on mandatory GPS to annoy them so they will go back where they came from.

      Also, they are now collecting DNA from ALL Registrants … AGAIN! We already gave our DNA before. Now, we’re doing it again! Insane! How many more times will our constitutional rights be violated by the very politicians who took an OATH to DEFEND the constitution?!?

      Maybe this really DOES need to get worse so that ignorant people will wake up to how this is bad for EVERYBODY! People are mad now that the surveillance state has gotten out of hand thanks to the paranoia surrounding 9/11. Maybe EVERYONE needs to be on a Public Registry who EVER committed a crime, no matter how small. Then, maybe they will get up off of their rear-ends and speak up!

    • Calvin J Stone
      August 2, 2014 at 6:52 am

      Hi, here in Maine I was told by a few lawyers, and some state rep. That once you are placed on the list of death you are on it. I’ve also have been told That if they start fighting to remove it they will be voted out of office. Can you say big money makers. There is a group called mothers of America. This is the same group who sticks there nose into our military, prisons, to control how things are done. dont get me wrong Some things they are stating is for the good. Like prisoner’s should get longer vist time. More classes on their crimes. I feel this sex offenders list each state has and the watch dog list is way out of control. Here in my state of Maine I am on 4 list. I Googled my name, plus some prive site controled by the mothers of America. The bad part is my ssn is on the paper work you can request. I cant do anything about it. No one will do anything for me. Even if I had $3,000.00 to go into court. Do to the list of hell. I do not have a job.

  3. Tom
    July 29, 2014 at 3:07 am

    I eagerly await more videos on YouTube of the conference. They are comforting.

    I’ve only seen 3 or so videos: One of Lenore’s speech with the props, and 2 with Ms. Bellucci. It’s comforting to know that people are fighting for us Registrants.

    Here in New Hampshire, there are 3 different web sites which publish the Registry info. So, we are Constitutionally violated 3 times. My family is put in danger 3 times. And I, myself, am humiliated and put in danger 3 times. So, I get to live the rest of my life knowing one conviction for a hands-off offense (and no prior record AT ALL) puts me and my loved ones on a public hit list.

    People have already been murdered in my part of the country, one recently and close by! I keep wondering: Am I next?

    Great job on what I’ve seen so far. I just wish someone would put New Hampshire’s 3 WEB SITE Registry in the spotlight at one of your conferences. People need to know that the Registry isn’t just one website in other states too!

    • mark
      July 29, 2014 at 6:36 pm

      Tom,

      This registry and public shaming for these hands-off offenses is so wrong, and such torture,

      I pray that someday we may live in peace

      Mark

  4. Tom
    July 29, 2014 at 3:04 am

    I eagerly await more videos on YouTube of the conference. They are comforting.

    I’ve only seen 3 or so videos: One of Lenore’s speech with the props, and 2 with Ms. Bellucci. It’s comforting to know that people are fighting for us Registrants.

    Here in New Hampshire, there are 3 different web sites which publish the Registry info. So, we are Constitutionally violated 3 times. My family is put in danger 3 times. And I, myself, am humiliated and put in danger 3 times. So, I get to live the rest of my life knowing one conviction for a hands-off offense (and no prior record AT ALL) puts me and my loved ones on a public hit list.

    People have already been murdered in my part of the country, one recently and close by! I keep wondering: Am I next?

  5. JOHN MCCOLLUM
    July 23, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Congratulations on a great conference! It was very educational. Thanks for all the hard work by all involved.
    I am eagerly anticipating the release of the videos of the speakers. Please remember to include the electronic copies or links to the power point slides used by the speakers. I’m especially interested in the slides on presence and residency restrictions by Ms. Bellucci.
    Thanks again for all your hard work.

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