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ARD: See you in New Orleans!

This is one of several posts that I made private between May 31rst 2008 and July 22, 2008. (This represents the time period between my resigning from working on the Adoptee Rights Demonstration / Day for Adoptee Rights, (ARD / DAR) and it actually taking place in New Orleans.)

The piece below was originally posted Jan. 10th, 2008.

I changed its status to public view with this disclaimer added July 22nd. Now that the event has passed I am restoring my earlier writings towards the purposes of restoring the historical record.

They were taken down as they reflected my original support for and work towards ARD/DAR prior to my resignation. In late May, I resigned, and I did not wish these pieces to be mistaken for active recruitment to the event in the period between late May and the event in July.

Part of my reasoning was due to a technical quirk of blogging itself; each post stands alone, decontextualized from the larger narrative. As these older pieces could be viewed via web searches etc. as distinct and apart from the context that I had since resigned, I made them private until after the event had passed.

My single post history of ARD/DAR and the events leading up to it can be found here. The post below should be viewed in the context of the events explained in it. Additional posts concerning ARD/DAR particularly from July 22nd forward can be found by utilizing the Adoptee Rights Demonstration tag (results will appear in reverse chronological order, from newest to oldest.) They too, should be understood within that larger context.

Original text of the post, as it appeared prior to being made private appears in full below.

So, now after the long December hiatus (sorry folks!), I’m finally getting to at least one of the posts that’s long overdue: the post about the upcoming Adoptee Rights Demonstration in New Orleans, (which I affectionately refer to more as ‘Bastards take it to the Legislators’, somewhat of a post-Katrina New Orleans Bastard sequel for those of us who were at the Bastard Nation “Bastards on the Bayou” conference back in 2002.)

Ok, so what’s the deal?

The National Conference of State Legislatures annual meeting will take place in New Orleans this July. In response, a one day PROTEST FOR ADOPTEE RIGHTS has been proposed and is being hammered out. Why? Well, because the conference is a national meeting of the largest organization of State lawmakers – the people with the power to open records in their respective states, or not.

In short, we’re going to New Orleans in response (not reaction) to the upcoming conference there of those who decide whether or not we’ll be able to access our records.

The protest centerpiece itself will focus upon a march from Lafayette Square to the convention center, but many other activities are planned over the course of several days. Including; possible educational work prior to the march, a full page ad in the print version of the New Orleans Times-Picayune (“listing adult adoptees and their friends and family who support adoptee rights, the goal is one thousand names, one thousand adult adoptees, representing all fifty states”), and naturally, a variety of interactions with the lawmakers themselves are being strategized.

The protest is not limited only to Adoptees/Bastards, but open to “EVERYONE who supports the rights of adoptees to access their records of birth” who wants to come out and show their support.

Perhaps most importantly, though, this event has the POTENTIAL to be somewhat of a watershed moment (yeah, I know, not exactly a term to use in relation to New Orleans, sorry) for the open records movement and open records supporters.

Far from the few voices calling for pure open records that used to be somewhat ‘crying (and working) in the wilderness’ in years past amidst a sea of (often well intentioned, but misguided) compromisers. Pure uncompromised open records has become somewhat a more ‘mainstream’ position as of late, in no small part due to the hard work so many have put in to accomplish the actual opening of records (Bastard Nation and others) in states such as Oregon, Alabama, New Hampshire, and Maine. People are seeing open records in practice and seeing that yes, it can be done. It MUST be done. Anything less is a continuation of a legacy of secrecy and lies. Anything less only protects the misdeeds of the industry and it’s ilk. Pure open records are not only possible, they are already a hard won reality in some states.

Unfortunately, simultaneously, we are also forced to endure retrograde legislation such as the recent ‘black hole’ law that eventually passed in Massachusetts (see this older Bastatrd Nation action alert blogged by Bastardette on the MA Black Hole legislation.)

In short, from here, we can see both possibilities, pure open records in our lifetime, or disasters like MA that slam the doors shut, leaving Bastards behind. New Orleans, thus becomes not only a meeting site for the State Legislators, but also for those who support pure openness, to at one place and time come together and cross pollinate and strategize, and work, and take it directly to those who deny us equal citizenship under law.

The events in New Orleans hold the POSSIBILITY of being a crucial point in the work supporters of openness hold dear, but only, if they show up. Showing up is critical to that process; anything less, becomes missed opportunity, missed potential.

As of this writing, it appears activists will become coming from across the US and even internationally.

Think of the Adoptee Rights Demonstration as twofold; both externally focused, responding to those who deny us our most basic rights- to identity, to authentic history, etc, but also internally focused, this is a unique opportunity for supporters of open records from across the spectrum, many groups, as well as geographically far flung to come together and find our way forward, together. Whether you’re new to this kind of activism/strategic work or ‘old’ and cynical, like myself, this event is an opportunity, let’s plan and work to ensure it doesn’t become a lost opportunity.

Barring the unforseen, I’ll be there. My partner, Sleeps with Bastard, will be there.

Do I have reservations? (Well, will it be New Orleans in July? Yup, and I know what that means. Will lots of Bastards end up looking like a bunch of white faces- unavoidably so, we are after all, what the open market bought- usually white skinned and often blond or fair haired. That’s the very nature of the adoption beast. How do we do what we need to do in New Orleans while not overlooking or in anyway downplaying the magnitude of the realities New Orleans itself currently faces? On that one, I have no real answer yet. Yeah, it’s going to be strange protesting for open records in a place where day to day fighting for SURVIVAL is a genuine reality. I’m still trying to figure this one out, but the bottom line is we’re there because they’re there- the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Annual Meeting.) Oh, you meant HOTEL reservations… none-the-less yes, of course, we have those too!

Tuesday July 22th, 2008. Don’t be late.

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