Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Our Anti-Registry Movement has a far longer history than many of you realize

I recently got around to posting some really old videos yesterday. I posted two video interviews from 2014 (not that old), a video I made in 2009 (really old) and my first attempt at film from 2006 (virtually etched in stone), and it made my think about the significance of telling the origin story of this entire movement.

Were you folks aware I actually wrote an article on Once Fallen just on the history of this movement? Were you aware that it took years for use to come up with terms like "registered citizen"? Are you aware that even though I've been doing this online activism for roughly 12 years or so, there are some folks who've been fighting back before the ink dried on President Clinton's signing of Megan's Law?

I believe it is important for all of us to share the history of this cause. Up until now, I could only share what has been posted online along with my personal story. Tom has shared his personal experiences as well. There are some who've been around for many years but haven't shared their stories. Many of us may remember Mary Duval and David Hess, but there are others who paid their dues from behind the scenes but have been lost to the annals of time.

To paraphrase a popular saying, there's a lot to learn from our history. Our movement also had pioneers who made it possible (mainly through trial and error) for us to devise and employ more effective strategies. I've probably been in this longer than 90% of you reading this but there was a time when I had no real place to turn for help and I was just getting started. I learned from the few folks I found online who helped me with trying to fight local residency laws. And as you can see from my 2006 video, I still had a lot to learn. This has pretty much become my life now. I chose this life because I couldn't stand the thought of people having to put up with the struggles I faced. Looking back at how I have evolved in these past 11 years since I bought that camcorder (with work money, NOT SSI money) and started recording my struggles helps me to see how much I've changed besides gaining weight and changing my hair and accent.

This Movement has changed so much over the years. I may not agree with everyone and not everyone agrees with me but we've gone from being a novelty act to being a true force of change. I'm sure if Mary Duval were alive today, she'd be happy with the state of our movement for the most part, and I'm those who helped pioneer this movement who have retired or passed on in the 21 years since Megan's Law was passed.

I want to encourage everyone in this movement to tell their origin stories as well. I tell mine in hopes to inspire others, not for accolades and meaningless awards (no one really gets awards for our efforts anyways, unless your reward in life is helping people on the registry enrich their lives). Your story can inspire those who are on the fence about activism.

I still have more archive footage to share with you, though it is harder to find appropriate software to render Standard Def footage in 2017. For those who are interested...

Each of the following videos were videos I had filmed years ago, some as far back as 2006 (yes, I'm a procrastinator), so if you ever wondered what I look like skinny and with longer hair, there you go. These videos are all of historical significance to the cause, so I hope you enjoy them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TShCYSrcTZc -- 2007: The year of the protest -- Tom Madison discusses the first efforts of the anti-registry movement to engage in public protest, first in Miami in June 2007, then in December 2006 in Columbus OH.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LW4QYlTBdDw&t=1003s -- Origins of Once Fallen (2006):  I bought a Mini DV (Standard Def) camcorder to film a documentary. What I ended up capturing was a journey that led me to being the activist I am today. When I first started filming, I lived in a run-down sleeping room. I just lost my last job and started collecting SSI soon after. I was also fighting in court to keep my residence. I lost my case but found a new apartment. i stayed with my mom for two months, leaving Cincy at the end of September and returning just after Thanksgiving. After some issues moving back, I settled into my new apartment, only to learn that the city was looking to increase residency restrictions. I took the fight back to city hall and won the right to stay at my new apartment. This victory inspired me to write my book and, a year to the day after my first speech at Cincinnati City Hall, the Once Fallen website.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1yh-vlryqc&t=9s -- This is a video I shot of a protest against a local rehabilitation center that helps registered citizens. I was the sole counter-protester. This video was one of my early attempts to be a citizen journalist as well as activist. I did interview the leader of the protest. I do not have a video of the TV interview, and I was lucky to find an article about it online. I thought I'd share it as a study on our opponent's tactics and mind sets.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ns40BIHnyQ&t=18s -- Tom Madison discusses SOHopeful: Tom takes me to the mailbox that served as the official address for SOHopeful Legal Defense Fund (fighting the Oregon registry), which later became SOHopeful International, the first nationwide (daresay, International) effort to combat the registry. We also discussed the state of our movement at that time (July of 2014).