My heart is broken open…..

Oh……my……what a tender, beautiful, heart-filled movie about Alzheimer’s, families, loss, and redemption ….superb acting and a haunting, magnificent score…… my heart is broken open……

Of Mind and Music

Available on Netflix – and hopefully via other means for folks not on Netflix!

Advertisements

We are better than this….

Reflections on the Death Penalty

I have been working for weeks on a message about the Death Penalty that would somehow effectively contain all of my thoughts and feelings about what I see as a totally barbaric, utterly ineffectual, irresponsibly used, biased, and collectively destructive form of punishment.  Never mind that authors much more well and intimately knowledgable about the death penalty have filled volumes on a subject I’ve been trying to address in 1000 words or less.  Fortunately I know it’s not wasted effort – some of what I’ve written will be shared in this and other venues. Most important, all that writing and reflection helped bring me to the following point of clarity:

We are better than this, folks.
As a species….as creative, intelligent, vibrant, deeply caring human beings….we are falling far short of our potential by holding onto the idea that killing justifies and is somehow “cured” by more killing. We are collectively deluding ourselves that state sanctioned murder somehow makes us safer – a delusion which holds true for much of the punitive, non-restorative approach of our overall judicial and penal system.
Our current system, and the death penalty as an extreme expression of this system, does not restore harmony to our society.  It does not promote healing or meaningful resolution.  It does not serve to make us whole after incidents of violence and criminal betrayal break us apart.
And I know, without a doubt, that we are better than this.
We have the potential to envision and bring into being a system of restorative justice and societal/institutional change that can greatly reduce both crime and imprisonment – and lead to a safer, less prejudiced, more invigorated nation.
And because I believe in our potential, I will stand once again again in front of the gazebo on the square in Clarkesville, Georgia tomorrow evening from 6:30-7pm.
……I will stand in community with others, deeply grateful for our support of one another.
……I will stand strong in my belief that we as a people are better than the use of the death penalty.
……I will stand in compassionate and mourning for Kenny Fults, the man being executed, and his family and friends.
……I will stand in empathy and caring for the victims of his actions – the woman he killed 20 years ago and the family and friends who mourn her dearly.
……I will stand knowing that we have the ability to move beyond racial and other prejudice in our courts and in our lives.  NOTE: Both Kenny Fults’ own attorney and one of the jurors in his trial were shown to have strong racial biases against black people.
……I will stand knowing that we can make the changes necessary in our institutions and in our culture, so that abuse of children ends and all individuals who have developmental challenges receive the help they need to be positive members of society, rather than being the largest portion of our prison population.
NOTE: “Today, over 50 percent of prison and jail inmates in the United States have a diagnosed mental illness, a rate nearly five times greater than that of the general adult population.” (Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy, p. 188)   Also, see notes below about Kenny Fults’ severe abuse and neglect as a child, as well as his IQ placing him “in the range of mental retardation”.
……And I will stand with my heart open in love to every person in every car that passes by – because I know that is the path that will get us from where we are to where we are called to be.
We are better than this, folks.
 
If you are drawn to vigil Tuesday evening — in spirit, in person, or at another vigil location — I will be glad and grateful to stand with you.
In Peace,
Julianne

Julianne Wilson   julianne@thrivingconnections.org

 ©2016 Julianne Wilson – Permission granted to share for non-profit purposes only, with credit to the author .
A Glimpse of Kenny Fults Past…..
 
“I just lost sight of raising my kids,” his mother, Juanita Wyatt, told a state court judge, explaining the result of her crack and alcohol addictions. She was court-martialed from the military for writing bad checks to buy drugs, moved her children from house to house and state to state, abused them with switches and belts and electrical cords—using the plug end when the cord itself ceased to have the necessary impact. Whatever boyfriend happened to be with her at the time often joined in. As for Kenneth’s father, the man was no more than a name to him.
Kenneth’s mother didn’t just lose sight of raising her children—she lost sight of them entirely. His younger sister remembered how their mom had abandoned the kids after moving the family to Houston: We stayed there alone without any adults watching over us so long that the power company had turned off all the utilities. We didn’t have heat or lights; I don’t remember if we had water. I don’t remember how long we were alone…I know it was at least a couple of months. I was really scared. Kenny and Michael tried to make it like it was fun and we were just camping out or something. I know they started stealing for us to have something to eat, because we did not have any money. I also remember that Michael had them dig a hole in the ground in the backyard to bury some of our food to try and keep it cold when our electricity was turned off.

Legally speaking, the most compelling reason not to sentence Fults to death is that he may be intellectually disabled. Three separate IQ tests over a 16-year period, one of them seven years prior to the murder, all fall within the range for mental retardation. By seventh grade, Fults was testing near the bottom in basic skills. In eighth, he was placed in a “special class…for slow learners.” In that class, a former teacher recalled, Kenny was the “poorest performing student.” There also was abundant testimony that he was incapable of keeping his money straight or filling out job applications…..As for what a reasonable juror might have done with all of this information, we’ll never know. Johnny Mostiler [Fults’ defense attorney] didn’t present any of it to the jury.

For further information about Kenny Fults Conviction and Sentencing:

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions/stop-execution-kenneth-fults-usa-georgia-death-row

http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/parole-board-supreme-court-considering-fults-pendi/nq3yt/

http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2016/04/kenneth_fults_faces_execution.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/georgia-to-execute-man-convicted-in-triple-murder-this-month/2016/04/07/f4d29968-fd24-11e5-813a-90ab563f0dde_story.html

Here’s What I Want (short version)

Here’s what I want….How about you?

I want candidates to engage in DIALOGUE with one another – putting an end to these rallies and so-called debates that inform us barely at all.  I want to see how well they can talk with others, rather than at them.  How able are they to respond to varying questions, as opposed to the knee-jerk reactivity that currently prevails. What are their collaboration and mediation skills?  How willing and able are they to negotiate conflicts rather than merely manipulating or bullying to get their way?

I want leaders who can and want to LISTEN: courageous enough to solicit the ideas and concerns not just of their fans, but also of people with a wide range of perspectives.  Not to sway them, but to UNDERSTAND where they’re coming from, what they hope for, what they’re afraid of, what they value.  What we value.  And from that understanding, come to more informed, evolved, beneficially effective positions.

I want leaders who know that anger is a red flag telling them there is something going on that needs their attention – not a tool for agitating a crowd or a weapon to wield against those who disagree with them.

I want leaders who understand true BRIDGE BUILDING and embrace it as a major function of their role.

I want leaders who LOVE the world and are FASCINATED by it, daily choosing to see with fresh eyes, rather than through reinforced blinders that warp their perceptions and limit us all by labeling and dividing everyone into good/bad, us/them, ally/enemy.

And….

If we want more effective, positive leaders, we must give them healthy gardens from which to grow.  We have to daily tend whatever part of the garden of life we’re in – work, school, church, checkout line, or waiting room. We need to listen outside of our comfort zones, be curious without racing to judgment, share without posturing, and practice compassion and wonder as ways into loving the world more fully.  We need to support this in one another – and to expect it of those who lay claim to being our leaders.

Julianne Wilson   julianne@thrivingconnections.org

Here’s what I want….what about you?

Reflections on Leadership

Roundtable.jpg

I am tired of “performances” and “stump speeches”, of politicotainment, rabble-rousing, posturing, and bullying.
I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.
I want leaders who see the wholeness of the world and LIKE it, indeed, who LOVE it – not just the country (state, province, town, county, party) they represent, but the whole shebang.  I’m not expecting them to say, “everything everywhere is perfectly fine” – that’s not what I mean.  I can love the whole of my body and still be alert to places where disease or injury or stress are calling for attention and care.  I can love the wholeness of my child or partner or colleague and within that love attend to behaviors or conflicts that may not be serving them or our relationship well.
I want leaders who are FASCINATED by the world around them – again, the whole of it (though maybe not all at once, that might be a tad overwhelming).  I want leaders who choose daily to see with fresh eyes, rather than through reinforced blinders that focus their perception on (and limit us all by) labeling and dividing everyone into good/bad, us/them, ally/enemy, white/black/Muslim/Christian/Asian/Latin American/gay/straight/liberal/conservative/democrat/republican… you get my drift.
 I want leaders who can LISTEN.  No, not just ones who can listen, but ones who want to listen, who are courageous enough to seek to understand the ideas and concerns not just of people who seem to agree with them, but people with a wide range of perspectives.  Not to convince them to change their positions, but to UNDERSTAND where they are coming from, what they hope for, what they’re afraid of, what they value.  What we value.  And from that understanding, come to more informed, evolved, beneficially effective positions of their own.
I want leaders who understand that anger is a red flag telling them there is something going on they need to pay attention to – and not a tool for rabble-rousing or a weapon to wield against those who might disagree with them.
I want leaders who know JOY in life – not merely glee at defeating an “opponent” or pleasure at some perceived “win”, but true JOY in BEING ALIVE.
I want leaders who understand “BRIDGE BUILDING” vs. manipulation and embrace it as a major function of their role. I am tired of the current focus on fabricating walls.
I want candidates to sit at round tables and engage in DIALOGUE with one another – putting an end to these so-called debates that may stir us up but inform us barely at all.  I want to see how well a candidate can talk with others, rather than talking at them.  I want to see how able they are to respond in varying situations, as opposed to the knee-jerk reactivity that passes for “speaking truth” today.  What are their collaboration and mediation skills?  How willing and talented are they at negotiating conflicts rather than merely manipulating or bullying to “get their way”?
And…..
Our leaders do not appear out of thin air as some alien species distinct from the rest of us — though I confess at times I not only see them this way, but wish they were!
So, I want ALL of this for ALL of us.
Because it’s out of US that our leaders emerge.
If we want more effective, positive leaders, we must give them rich gardens from which to grow……and we alone are the garden and gardeners.  There is no “other” organization or people who have this responsibility.  It is ours.  And I know without a doubt that we are up to the challenge – we just have to choose, daily, to tend whatever part of the garden we are in – work, school, family, church, civic organization, grocery store checkout line, sporting event, dance floor, or waiting room. We need to engage with one another, to listen outside of our comfort zones, to be curious without racing to judgment, to share without posturing, to enter into dialogue with one another for the purpose of understanding, to practice compassion and wonder as ways into loving the world more fully, and to explore the joy of being alive.  We need to support this garden tending in one another – and to expect it of those who lay claim to being our leaders.
Here’s what I want…..what about you?
© 2016 Julianne Wilson – permission to share for non-profit purposes with author credit

Log Jam Breaking!

11 days ago – a lifetime ago – I posted a version of this essay to serve as the “About” section for this blog.  I voiced my intention to publish 70 essays/blog posts in 30 days. Nevermind the near insanity of such a goal – it got me moving and for a few days I was posting at a rate that actually could have made it possible…if I’d been able to keep up the pace with everything else on my plate.  Turns out that was like trying to run a marathon as if it were a 100-yard dash!  But I have absolutely no regrets about setting that goal OR not achieving it.

In spite of the astronomical inaccuracy of Norman Vincent Peale’s famous quote,

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

it’s a guide that’s often proved to be a truism in my life.  A big goal often gets me out of the starting blocks and on my way.  Once in motion, I can assess, get my bearings, and adjust my “goal” if needed. My guess is that’s true for most of us – it’s easier to change the course of a vehicle in motion than one that is at a standstill.  Plus, there just aren’t that many straight lines in the universe – look around….most of the ones you’ll see are human-made. Nothing wrong with that, but by far straight lines are in the minority of all the “lines” of creation!

(NOTE: Regarding the quote…stars are much farther away than the moon. Unless you had amazing propulsion, you’d be unlikely to get beyond the gravitational pull of the earth or the sun to make it out to other stars….) 

So – I am in motion.  The start of this blog has shifted much in and around me, far beyond “merely” breaking up this writer’s logjam.  Energy, ideas, opportunities, connections are opening up all over. Plus I’m getting a LOT done.  I am filled with gratitude and wonder.

 AND….I am adjusting my goal to 40 posts by April 1st. This will help me keep the momentum going, as well as allow me to be both stretching and caring in my expectations of myself.  Plus, I may well surpass that number, and achieving beyond a goal is great fun, don’t you agree?!

Wish me well!  I am excited and fascinated to continue exploring how this loosening of inner (and outer) logs frees me up….and where the river takes me!

I wish you release and delicious, freeing movement in whatever places there may be a logjam in your own life…….

Namasté,

Julianne

HERE’S THE POST THAT GOT THIS BLOG STARTED:

February 18, 2016

I see the world in connections.

That’s the way the lenses of the eyes of my heart and imagination focus.  It’s how I make sense of the world, and how I engage in Life.  I think this is operative for most people – we are, after all, a meaning seeking, meaning making species. And making connections is a key part of finding meaning.

Most days for me, this connection-seeing is on hyperdrive.  It’s sort of like living in a popcorn popper of ideas and questions and curiosity.  Or perhaps a better analogy would be a flowing river with lots of currents, twists and turns – fed by a multitude of springs along its course, as well as gentle rains and deluges from thunderstorms.  Fish and critters of all sorts dash and splash, drink and swim. And oh the wonders of the microscopic life, sunsparkle on the water’s surface, and slip-sliding on slick green algae covered rocks. It’s a rich, exciting, and not infrequently overwhelming way to live.

Every day, many many times most days, whatever I see or hear or read spawns a radiating web of connections – with other ideas, with people who might find value in what I’ve just witnessed, with deeper reflections, with memories from the past or visions of the future, with possible writing or painting or sculptural projects, with classes I facilitate or my mentoring work with individuals, or with community groups or activities I organize.

What this actually looks like tends to be scattered stacks of written pages – in paper and digital form – ALWAYS waiting to be organized into books or articles, exercises or classes, but only rarely getting “out” into the world.  Combine that with the circuitous rambling “route” of the little boy from the Family Circus cartoons, and squish in some mud and silly putty.  It’s where the river of me gets stuck in a perpetual log jam: there is still some flow (ideas, creativity, insights, inspirations, imagination, intuition….all that wonderful juice of life!), but most of it is all too quickly stopped up by the many logs waiting their turn to head out to where others may use them to build furniture or boats or homes or have paper to write upon.

It is akin, I think, to what the Doormouse asks Alice in Lewis Carroll’s much beloved novel, “…you know you say things are ‘much of a muchness’ – did you ever see… a drawing of a muchness?”

I have, it looks rather like the first three photos below, when what I long for is the free flowing waters of the fourth ….

For too long I have held back my own flow because of fear, uncertainty, self-doubt, or waiting for permission or invitation or “the right time”. I am well aware I am not alone in this “withholding” of the lives we came here to live.

Oftentimes when faced with the logjam muchness of my life, particularly my writing, I avoid the river entirely – for it seems not only impossible to clear, but also quite dangerous.  I have been caught unexpectedly amongst incoming huge driftwood logs in waves on the coast of Oregon – it’s a scary and dangerous scenario.

But….

The logjam does not seem to dislodge itself, and while eventually I imagine all the logs might rot and break down into fertile mush, I’m not sure I’ve got in me the decades (centuries?) that process might take.  So, I’m going to breathe deeply (probably  quite a lot of deep breathing!), dive in, and set off a new pattern of movement.

I am embarking upon this B-Log as a way to Break up the LOGjam by setting loose at least 70 Sparks of Connection in one month, with an eye to 700 in the coming year (consider yourself forewarned!).

That’s two a day, most days.  I anticipate organizing them by themes – we’ll see how that goes.  My mission is to open my river wide and ride both its wildness and its peacefulness with love and wonder.  I want to discover where my river can take me if I let it flow free.

And if your own river should be nourished, nudged, or freed up in some way in the process, then I shall consider it all time well spent, indeed.

©2016 Julianne Wilson – Permission granted to share with credit to the author for non-profit purposes only.

 

Singing in a New World

Sing-it-for-the-world

This morning my dear friend Carolyn recommended I check out a new-to-me singer/songwriter, Carrie Newcomer. I zipped over to YouTube for a quick listen – intuitively choosing one from the many songs listed.  I had no idea what the music or lyrics would be….but was not at all surprised when they spoke directly to my heart regarding my concern of late about state sanctioned discrimination.  I listened to “Room at the Table”. The music and lyrics are wonderful – you can listen at the end of this post. This particular line opened me up wide:

“Let us sing the new world in, this is how is all begins. There is room at the table for everyone.”

Singing the new world in…..that’s what happened this weekend as people lit up Georgia phone lines to call their representatives, the Governor’s office, and other leaders. Over the weekend, I wrote about FADA – the so-called “First Amendment Defense Act” (HB-757) that zinged through the Georgia Senate and was on its way to a potential House vote yesterday.  My concern (and the fairly clear intent of the bill’s strongest proponents) was that there would be virtually no opportunity for public input with only a weekend between a Friday Senate and Monday House vote.

But…..

Here’s what happened…..

People responded anyway.

In spite of the fact that it was a weekend and most governmental offices were closed, people made phone calls. Individuals and business leaders reached out to representatives and to the Governor’s office.  News outlets picked up stories of companies that promised to relocate from Georgia if this bill were signed into law.

People “sang the new world in” – they spoke their hearts, they spoke for acceptance and respect.  For the well-being of individuals and of the state as a whole.

They spoke and they were heard.  Some of them were readers of this blog or my PeaceSeeds newsletter – and a few of them had 5, 10, and even 30-minute conversations, ON A SUNDAY, directly with their representatives! The power of that cannot be underestimated.  Did they change their representatives’ minds?  Probably not.  But did they create an opening for reflection, even for a moment? Absolutely.

On Monday, in a virtually unprecedented move to quell the business sector response to the Senate’s passing of FADA, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal spoke publicly about a pending bill. He said that he would be working closely with state legislators to amend FADA.  Deal “… made clear the measure is still evolving – and that he and his top aides are working with House Speaker David Ralston and other legislative leaders . . . [He said] ‘by far, it’s not finalized yet’.”

(Source: http://politics.blog.ajc.com/2016/02/22/nathan-deal-changes-are-coming-to-georgias-religious-liberty-proposal/)

According to news source Inquisitr, GA State Senator Emanuel Jones (District 10) called FADA “dangerous, and worried that that it could be used not only to discriminate against LGBT citizens of Georgia, but to protect the Ku Klux Klan.”  When this interpretation of FADA was pointed out to Senator Greg Kirk (District 13), who sponsored FADA,  Kirk “agreed it was not impossible, but said it ‘didn’t present a problem’ for him.”

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Sorry, I just couldn’t help interjecting there – I’m guessing I’m not alone!!

The same source reported on a open letter written to the state senate by civil liberties and public policy attorney Maggie Garrett, pointing out the many people who could be affected by FADA: interracial families, LGBT couples, people in mixed marriages, Muslims, Jews.

“Just a few of the troubling real life consequences could include: a single mother and her child being denied safety at the domestic violence shelter; a hospital denying a man the opportunity to say goodbye to his dying husband; a cemetery corporation denying an interracial couple a shared cemetery plot; a restaurant refusing to allow a child’s birthday party because his parents are divorced; or an unmarried couple and their child being denied a room at a hotel late at night after their car broke down.”

(Source: http://www.inquisitr.com/2818055/fada-drives-telecom-company-out-of-georgia/)

 

What FADA legalizes and the precedent it sets is not the way I live in the world, and it does not support the world in which I long to live.  It’s based in fear and separation, where what serves Life is respecting, being curious about, and celebrating our wonderful, diverse interconnection. That’s the world I want to live in, with love. Let’s keep on singing it in….

 

©2016 Julianne Wilson – Permission granted to share for non-profit purposes only, with credit to the author .

Legalized Discrimination in Georgia – MUST BE STOPPED!

There is something happening in our state right now that chills me to the bone – and fires me up t0 act. Fire and Ice – a powerful combination! I hope you will be likewise motivated!!

If you already know about FADA – scroll down now to TAKE ACTION for simple, explicit steps on what you can do – TODAY.

Time is of the essence. As in now. Tomorrow, literally, may be too late. I don’t like urgency and fear tactics – I rail against them – BUT, this isn’t a tactic – there is no leeway timewise on this situation:

Advances Twitter

On Friday (2 days ago), the GA Senate voted to pass “FADA” – the so-called “First Amendment Defense Act”. TOMORROW the Georgia House of Representatives can vote it into law…..and they must be persuaded to STOP this madness.

In a nutshell, here’s what this law would do: Legalize Discrimination.

It is being touted as “protecting religious freedom” – but make no mistake, this bill is NOT about religious freedom. It is about state sanctioned, legalized bigotry. It is fear and hatred mongering at its worst.

Freedom of religion is already guaranteed IN THE CONSTITUTION.

What THIS bill does is make it legal for anyone A N Y O N E to refuse service to people they decide are not good or acceptable based on their religious beliefs. This means doctors, nurses, lawyers, business owners, employees – ANYONE can decide to promote hatred and bigotry by declining service.

It is targeted at but not limited to the LGBT community. This means people can legally put up signs on their doors such as “no gays allowed”. And it sets a very dangerous precedent for expanded legislation to allow anyone who decides their religious beliefs require them to denounce Muslims or Blacks or Jews or people with red hair, t0 LEGALLY refuse service based on ANY of those characteristics as well. All by itself, this legislation is heinous – even worse (if such a thing is possible), it marks the start of a VERY slippery slope.

Most of us are too young to remember “White” and “Colored” drinking fountains. This bill is a modern day version of that discriminatory era.

And here’s the kicker – what makes acting TODAY or EARLY (before 8:30am) Monday morning SO essential: The Senate structured this legislation in a manner that makes it possible to go directly to a vote in the House, without having to go to committee for vetting (the normal process) – which means the House can (and in all likelihood will) vote on this on Monday. As in TOMORROW. This is railroading – and it’s our collective rights and well-being that are being thrown out in fear-mongering for political gain in an election year.

REPRESENTATIVES NEED TO HEAR YOUR VOICE NOW.

TAKE ACTION!

Here’s a step-by-step way I’ve created (and found useful) to make sure your Representative KNOWS he or she is NOT representing YOU if he/she supports FADA:

1) Write down (or better yet, type up) exactly what you want to say – An example follows. Keep it short, clear, and polite. You can be strong in voice without being attacking, and that is important if you want your message heard. Also, you will be speaking to someone paid to answer phones whose primary job is to note how many calls come in on which issues and what their stance is – yay or nay. This person has no authority, but does have the potential to pass along messages in a positive OR a discounting manner. You don’t want to fall into the latter category. Speak from your heart – that’s where we connect with one another. You want to connect with the person who answers the phone.

2) Go to this link & type in your STREET address with zip

http://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/

(note – a pop-up box will come up saying the site wants you to allow them to know your location – this isn’t necessary, so click “don’t allow” – unless you don’t know your address…which seems rather unlikely!)

Both your State Senator and Representative will show up.

3) Click on the name of your REPRESENTATIVE

(Not your Senator. This bill has already zipped, literally, through the Senate.)

4) Take a deep breath. This step is really important – especially if you are nervous, if you are telling yourself your call isn’t going to make a difference, or if you are about to pop a gasket and might “go off” on whomever answers the phone.

Still anxious, furious or uncertain? Put your hand on the middle of your chest. Breathe deeply into your heart. Connect with the core of why this issue is important to you. Listen behind your fear (anger, anxiousness, resentment, etc) for the yearning of your heart. It may be that this is important to you because you value respect, acceptance, understanding, or building bridges rather than inciting divisiveness. Tova Payne writes, “Speaking your truth happens by paying attention to the voice of your heart and intuition, and allowing that truth to be spoken.” She’s spot on. Maggie Kuhn’s words add to that: “Stand before the people you fear and speak your mind — even if your voice shakes.” (Note: Maggie Kuhn didn’t start publicly speaking her truth about social justice until she was 65 – and then she kept right on doing so until her death at 90 in 1995. She was a diminutive gray haired woman who found her voice and used it meaningfully. If she could do it, ANY of us can!)

5) Pick up the phone, dial the number for your Representative. Take another deep breath while the phone rings.

6) Identify yourself:

 Hello, I am ___(your name)____.

I live in ___(your town)___ Georgia.

I am a ________(mother/father, job/profession, title, business owner, very concerned citizen – whatever identifies you in a truthful way that makes you more real to the person on the other end of the line).

_____(name of Representative)____ is my State Representative.

7) Share what you wrote down to say.

I am calling because…….

8) Thank whomever answers the phone for listening (even if it’s an answering machine).

9) Send what you wrote in an email as a follow-up. PLEASE do not just skip to this step. A 1-minute phone call is more effective than 500 emails or signatures on a petition. Trust me, they have done the research on this. In general, elected officials hear from less than 5% of their constituents, and the vast majority of even that small percentage is in the form of emails, form letters, and petition signatures. PHONE CALLS REALLY STAND OUT!

EXAMPLE TEXT

(After identifying yourself.)

I am calling to voice my deep, strong opposition to FADA.

I value freedom of religion, and I am glad that it is clearly guaranteed in our US Constitution.

I also celebrate the wonderful diversity of our population and value respect to all.

FADA promotes discrimination – it fuels hatred and division and has no place in our state. It is morally and fiscally irresponsible. FADA nothing more than a new version of the segregation laws that are such a shameful part of our history – this time not against blacks, but against people who are Lesbian, Gay, Transgendered or Bi-sexual. FADA is NOT about freedom of religion. It is a license to hate and discriminate. I strongly urge Representative _______ to vote for the wellbeing of the whole state and not give in to the fear-mongering and bigotry that this bill promotes.

Thank you for your time and for registering my total opposition to this bill.

 

For more information:

“FADA includes the troubling language that people can be discriminated against based on their sexual habits,” said Sen. Elena Parent (D-Decatur) during the Senate debate.  “This sanctions discrimination against single mothers, people who have had affairs, people who co-habitate, people who are divorced, people who are remarried and many others.” http://www.11alive.com/story/news/2016/02/19/ga-senate-passes-1st-amendment-defense-act/80627210/

 

Georgia Unites Against Discrimination leader, Jeff Graham, explains the current situation:

During Friday’s Senate debate Sen. Nan Orrock warned her fellow members: “Disabuse yourselves of the notion that FADA has been vetted.” 

She was right. 

After mere days to review complex and broadly defined legislation, the Senate called the discriminatory First Amendment Defense Act to vote. When fair-minded lawmakers attempted to add amendments that would have barred discrimination under FADA—they were blocked.

That’s not even the worst part. The Senate knew what it was doing when it sneakily tacked this heinous bill onto a piece of legislation that the House of Representatives had already passed (the Pastor Protection Act). Now, FADA can bypass House committee and go straight to a vote. Representatives could move to approve this legislation without even holding debate.

This is dirty politics at its basest. Legislators know that a majority Georgians, 300+ leaders in businesses and hundreds of clergy members oppose the harmful First Amendment Defense Act. Instead of listening to the people they represent, they’re pulling shady tricks to force FADA through the Legislature, regardless the cost.

 

Georgia Clergy Oppose FADA

https://baptistnews.com/culture/politics/item/30941-georgia-clergy-oppose-first-amendment-defense-act

 

Why Everyone should be concerned about FADA:

http://clatl.com/freshloaf/archives/2016/02/17/why-everyone-should-be-concerned-about-the-first-amendment-defense-act