Decision Maker

Mary Fallin

  • OK05
  • Governor

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Petitioning U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, Bill Walker, Asa Hutchinson, Jerry Brown, Nathan Deal, Rick Scott, David Ige, Butch Otter, Bruce Rauner, Mike Pence, Terry Branstad, Sam Brownback, Matt ...

Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment

This is the year 2016. Isn’t it time women had equal rights in America? Will you join me by signing a petition compelling your lawmakers to vote to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment? “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” The Equal Rights Amendment, first introduced in 1923 by Alice Paul, is an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that affirms that all citizens deserve equal rights under the law regardless of sex or gender. Seems self-evident, right? Do you think that women’s equal rights are guaranteed by our constitution? Sadly, they are not. The ERA never passed, leaving women’s rights up for interpretation. This imbalance has been demonstrated time and time again in the highest courts in the land, where women often lose even when clear bias is shown. Women’s rights are seemingly at the mercy of whoever is in office or on a judicial bench at any given time. Here is what one of our most influential Supreme Court justices said on the matter of sex discrimination: "Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn't."
—Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia While we in America may think that women are doing fine, the rest of the world does not. The United Nations has deemed the United States to be a country that does not adequately protect women’s human rights. The Equal Rights Amendment may seem unnecessary to some, but the truth is American women do not have explicit rights under The Constitution. There are dozens of areas where a lack of equal rights negatively affects women and the families they support. Here are just a few: • America is the only nation in the world with a rising maternal mortality rate.
 • 10,000 abused women are turned away from shelters daily, a total of 3.65 million denied requests per year. When looking specifically at the gender pay gap: There is a direct correlation between underpaying mothers and child hunger. It is estimated that half of the 33 million women and children living in poverty in the United States would not be if women were paid their full dollar. Is it any wonder that 1 in 5 children in America go hungry? Seventy-five percent of all African American children are being raised by full time working single mothers who are paid .60 cents on the dollar. Latinas earn .55 cents on the dollar, and white women make .78 cents compared to their white male counterparts. Our transgender sisters are faring even worse. They are four times as likely to have a household income under $10,000 and twice as likely to be unemployed. Over the course of her working life, an American woman will lose between $400,000 and two million dollars due to wage discrimination. The Equal Rights Amendment would provide an express constitutional basis to challenge sex-based discrimination. It would also ensure that laws and government actions that treat women differently are reviewed by the courts with the strictest of standards. With the upcoming 2016 election we need to intensify the conversation around women's issues and compel our lawmakers to protect the basic civil and human rights of American women by passing the ERA. It is time that we finally make this happen for ourselves, our daughters, and for the future of our nation. If even Supreme Court justices don’t believe the Constitution protects women from discrimination, let’s pass an amendment that will. Please join me along with Kamala Lopez, the director of the upcoming documentary “Equal Means Equal,” the ERA Coalition, and Noreen Farrell of Equal Rights Advocates, to sign this petition for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment #EqualMeansEqual —Patricia Arquette

Patricia Arquette with Equal Rights Advocates
127,829 supporters
Victory
Petitioning Mary Fallin

Hear Oklahoma House Bill 1362

We are a group of mothers, fathers, students, and concerned citizens in Oklahoma. We urgently need your help to make sure that a crucial bill to help stop the rape and victimization of young girls in our state is heard in the Oklahoma State House. HB 1362 is a vital bill that will ensure that victims have support, that school officials are trained to handle these situations, and that our students are effectively taught about consent and proper boundaries. It is essential that this bill is passed, not just for the safety of Oklahoma’s students, but also as a signal to the rest of the country that this type of legislation is needed to protect all of our young people. House Bill 1362 successfully made it out of the Common Education Committee on Tuesday, February 24th -- but now the real fight begins. The next step is a vote on the house floor, and if the bill is voted down it will be two more years before this essential legislation can be reintroduced.  Last fall, we organized the group Yes All Daughters after three teenage girls in our hometown of Norman, OK were raped by the same classmate and then bullied out of school after they reported their assaults.We organized a peaceful protest and the school district responded by creating a task force to address issues related to victimization and bullying. The perpetrator was arrested following our protest and is currently awaiting trial on First Degree Rape charges. HB 1362 was introduced as a direct result of the assaults on these three girls, and our work to bring their stories to light. But the work is not done. There is no guarantee that the Oklahoma State House will pass this legislation, even though the rape and sexual assault of minors is still an enormous problem in Oklahoma. Last week, in the town just over from Norman, four more students (all aged 18 and 19) were arrested for the alleged gang rape of a girl under the age of 16. We cannot continue to let this problem go unchecked in our state. Girls ages 16-19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault, yet this bill was not on the agenda until our last-ditch effort compelled legislators to read it in committee. We must demand that House Bill 1362 become a priority among the Oklahoma State Legislators. Sign the petition. Stand with us against sexual violence. No more silence. No more shame.

Yes All Daughters
36,482 supporters
Petitioning McCurtain county sherrifs department, Mary Fallin

Justice for Janie McCoy

Janie was assaulted and mistreated by the girl saybra Nicole. Saybra not only assaulted Janie, but put the life of that innocent child in danger. That went to far and anyone who assaults a mother with a child in their arms deserve punishment at the fullest extent of the law.

Ken Mckinney
18,775 supporters
Victory
Petitioning The Governor of OK

State of Oklahoma: Kill SB32

If passed, SB32 will overturn existing Oklahoma law which currently prohibits breed discrimination. SB32 will allow cities to restrict ownership of any breed of dog by citizens within municipal limits. This will create breed-specific legislation (BSL) in Oklahoma.

Sherry Stinson
9,131 supporters
Petitioning Oklahoma State House

Don't Close 16 Popular and Beautiful Oklahoma State Parks!

This petition is in response to the proposal to possibly close the 16 state parks listed below. These are some of the most beautiful places in Oklahoma and future generations deserve to experience them! I've taken my children to many of these state parks and they've provided opportunity for them to learn about nature and explore the world around them. My own personal journey has taught me how valuable it can be to get out into nature and disconnect for a few days. Closing these state parks will take that opportunity away from many people and future generations.   We hope this petition will show our legislators our state parks are important to us. It's important to also contact your local representative and tell them how you feel! You can find your local representative by clicking the link below and entering your address.  http://www.oklegislature.gov/FindMyLegislature.aspx TalimenaGreat Plains State ParkCherokee landing State ParkNatural Falls State ParkRed Rock Canyon State ParkGreat Salt Plains State ParkLake Eufaula State ParkLake Wister State ParkAlabaster Caverns State ParkMcGee Creek State ParkFoss Lake State ParkOsage Hills State ParkGreenleaf State ParkLake Texoma State ParkGrand Lake State ParkGrand Cherokee Golf CourseBoiling Springs State Park

Dale Spoonemore
6,685 supporters
Petitioning Mary Fallin, Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb, Oklahoma Former Governor Brad Henry, The Oklahoman, Tulsa World, KFOR-TV Channel 4, KOCO-TV Channel 5

Free Daniel Holtzclaw, an innocent man wrongfully convicted!

On Jan. 21, 2016, our son, brother, and friend Daniel Holtzclaw, an Oklahoma City police officer, was sentenced to 263 years in prison after a jury wrongfully convicted him of sexually assaulting seven women and one teenager, despite the fact that no physical evidence of crime was found, patrol car Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) data failed to match crucial accusations, numerous discrepancies occurred in the accusers' testimony, and detectives gathered almost all of the accusers (ten out of thirteen) by selectively seeking out and questioning only African American women with histories of prostitution or drug use with whom Daniel had interacted during his routine police duties. Daniel Holtzclaw is innocent and was wrongfully convicted of crimes he never committed. Daniel put his life on the line daily as a police officer for the justice he served and also deserved in his trial but was denied. Please sign our petition to urge Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb, former Governor Brad Henry, and Oklahoma news media to investigate the police misconduct and mishandling of Daniel's case that led to his convictions for multiple sexual assaults he did not commit, and to respectfully request that Governor Fallin grant clemency by exonerating Daniel because he is innocent.  You can learn more about who Daniel Holtzclaw is by visiting www.holtzclawtrial.com. The evidence supports Daniel's innocence. The only forensic finding linking Daniel to any accuser in the entire trial was DNA from a 17-year-old teenager who said the officer searched her purse, pat searched her, then raped her, yet the prosecution's own DNA analyst acknowledged the evidence was consistent with non-intimate, indirect transfer of skin cell DNA, such as from the purse to the officer's hands, then to his uniform pants while using the restroom. The State's forensic analyst failed to disclose during the trial that all four DNA samples from the fly of the uniform pants also included DNA from at least one male, which supports the non-intimate transfer explanation. The DNA did NOT derive from semen.  No DNA matching any other accuser besides the 17-year-old girl was found on the fly of Daniel's uniform pants, which police detectives took on June 18, 2014, along with his belt as their only evidence from Daniel. This was just hours after Daniel's night shift during which detectives eventually claimed he sexually assaulted not just the teenager through the fly of the uniform pants, but also two other individuals including Jannie Ligons, whose unsubstantiated accusations sparked the investigation targeting Daniel. No vaginal fluid was seen on the fly of Daniel's uniform pants by the State's forensic analyst, who used a very bright light and a magnifying glass. Only the fly area of Daniel's uniform pants was tested for DNA, and the uniform pants were NOT tested for saliva, semen, or vaginal fluid to determine the source of the DNA, even though “in legal proceedings, a proper and reliable determination of the source of isolated DNA is essential and an error in identification may result in grave legal consequences” (Jakubowska et al. (2011) Problems of Forensic Sciences, 87: 204-215).  Despite these facts, Prosecutor Gayland Gieger claimed falsely during his closing argument that it was a "fact" that DNA from the walls of the teenager's vagina "was transferred in vaginal fluids" (Transcript p. 4307). Prosecutor Gieger also claimed falsely after the trial that "the skin cells were transferred through the body fluids of a 17-year-old girl after he raped her. That's what the evidence was, that's what the jury heard, and certainly that's what they convicted him of. They [the defense] tried to explain DNA from a 17-year-old girl that ends up inside his pants at the areas where his privates are. Quite frankly, their explanation was not believable because you can't explain that" (Erielle Reshef, KOKO 5 News, "Prosecutors who helped convict Daniel Holtzclaw speak,” Feb. 5, 2016). In reality, article after article has shown that skin cell DNA can transfer indirectly ("secondary" or "tertiary" transfer) from a person, via intermediaries, to an object without any direct contact. If DNA on the fly of your pants were evidence of a crime, then every one of us could be convicted. As early as 2010, forensic researchers reported their discovery that DNA can transfer from a woman through non-intimate social contact to a man's hands, and then to his underpants and even genitals during urination, such that her DNA will be found on a penile swab (Hulme, J. (2010) Science and Justice, 50: 100-109). This research was recently corroborated by Jones et al. (2016) DNA transfer through nonintimate social contact, Science and Justice, 56: 90-95. Prosecutor Gieger not only misrepresented the DNA evidence from the 17-year-old girl, but also did not fully inform the jury about exculpatory evidence that challenged her credibility. Just months after the teenager accused Daniel of sexually assaulting her, this same young woman, A.G., was arrested for using a machete to attack a man on June 10, 2015, after she claimed to police that the man had used the weapon to assault her but “police were not convinced she was telling the truth since she did not appear to have any injuries” (Dallas Franklin, KFOR.com, “Man allegedly attacked at home, 2 arrested,” June 11, 2015). A.G., who similarly accused Daniel of a heinous crime, was booked for assault with a deadly weapon, and on April 18, 2016, she pleaded guilty to two other violent crimes, including domestic assault and battery (Muskogee OK - Case CM-2015-00199 and Case CF-2016-00031). None of the accusations against Daniel Holtzclaw were supported by any solid evidence of crime. No evidence, for example, supported the first accusation targeting Daniel, which occurred on June 18, 2014, when Daniel performed an off-duty traffic stop of the swerving car with tinted windows that prevented him from seeing the occupant at 2 a.m. that morning. The driver, Jannie Ligons, had lacked a valid license for more than 30 years and later admitted to police that, before driving, she had taken sleep-inducing PM medication and smoked marijuana, which can cause paranoia and hallucinations. She said she placed her hands on the hood of the patrol car while Daniel pat searched her, then she sat in the backseat of the patrol car. Here, she said, Daniel procured lewd exhibition and orally sodomized her through the fly of his pants, with his hands on the car's roof. She also said that Daniel touched her phone. The SANE exam of Jannie Ligons came back negative. No DNA, sperm, or seminal fluid from Daniel was found in or around Ms. Ligons' mouth. Ms. Ligons' DNA was not found on the fly of his uniform pants. No fingerprints or DNA from Ms. Ligons or Daniel were found on the patrol car's hood or roof to corroborate her claims. No DNA from Daniel was found on her phone, but the DNA from Ms. Ligons and some unknown individual was, showing that DNA does indeed transfer from people to things they touch. No pubic hair or DNA from Daniel was found inside the patrol car, and the surveillance video of the traffic stop, which was too far away to display fine details, showed no wrongdoing. Although the police detectives were investigating a sexual assault, the only evidence they took from Daniel was his uniform pants and belt. Detectives did not even take Daniel's underwear, and they never issued a search warrant for his home, personal car, or phone to obtain evidence which could have been used to help support Daniel's innocence. What the male detective did do is put his bare hand in the evidence bag, which can lead to DNA contamination. Daniel answered all the detectives' questions and asked them to analyze his DNA as quickly as possible so that he could clear his name. Daniel also agreed to take a polygraph test, an offer that the jury was never allowed to hear. Daniel Holtzclaw has maintained his innocence since the very beginning, June 18, 2014, when police detectives first questioned Daniel and claimed, untruthfully, that they had found pubic hairs in his patrol car and had incriminating surveillance video of the traffic stop Daniel performed that morning at the end of his shift. Despite the lack of evidence, and even though Ms. Ligons had no history of criminal convictions or warrants for her arrest and the traffic stop of her car with dark-tinted windows at night could not have resulted from any knowledge that the occupant was African American, police detectives concocted a theory that Daniel targeted African American women with histories of prostitution and drugs such that they would be too afraid to report alleged sexual crimes for fear of not being believed. Police detectives then searched for more accusers by selectively contacting over 40 African American females with histories of prostitution or drug arrests with whom Daniel had interacted during his routine police duties, which often involved intervening in cases of drug use and prostitution in the lower income neighborhood he patrolled.  Any black woman who had been stopped by Daniel because of her drug use or prostitution would have a chance to make allegations against the young police officer who had tried to halt her criminal activities.  ALMOST 98% OF THE INDIVIDUALS QUESTIONED BY DETECTIVES WERE AFRICAN AMERICAN FEMALES, showing that detectives, not Daniel, were the ones who targeted black females with criminal histories of prostitution or drug use. Detectives solicited testimony by telling these women that police had received a “tip” that the women “may have been sexually assaulted by a police officer,” which was blatant leading of potential witnesses. In one case, the police detective actually called the officer a "very bad guy" with "lots of victims" before a woman identified him after she first denied seven times that any officer had treated her inappropriately, and she stated, "There's only one officer that I know a few years back: he was a black cop, he used to come around here, and he exposed his self to me." The police department and news media at this time were also broadcasting information about Daniel as a suspect, including showing his face, such that the people in the neighborhood he had patrolled knew he was under suspicion.  In this wrongful manner that encouraged false allegations, the police thus found 10 individuals, including the 17-year-old A.G., who made accusations that were used to charge Daniel with sexual assault.  This gave a total of 13 accusers including the three black women who reported a crime on their own:  the initial female driver (Jannie Ligons, whose allegations were never substantiated), another woman who came forward to claim the officer had sexually assaulted her in the hospital room after she overdosed on PCP (Daniel was found not guilty of her accusations), and a third woman who reported that she had been sexually assaulted but could not positively identify the officer (Daniel was also found not guilty of her accusations).  Seven other individuals, including one man, claimed the officer had sexually assaulted them, but their allegations were deemed too absurd or simply impossible (such as not matching Daniel's work schedule) to result in charges, and they recanted when confronted with evidence that they were lying. One of those individuals, Shaneice Barksdale, admitted in a videotaped police interview that she had made up her allegations to try to help the case and was convicted of falsely reporting a crime (State of Oklahoma v. Shaneice Barksdale, Case No. CM-2015-1413). Research by acclaimed eyewitness expert, Dr. Gary L. Wells, has shown that eyewitnesses' memories of events can be altered by suggestion and positive feedback, often leading to wrongful convictions. The validity of accusers' testimony in Daniel's trial should not have been accepted as fact, not only because of the leading, suggestive manner in which police detectives found accusers until they had a total of thirteen, but also because at least five of the accusers knew each other, and many of the women were using hallucinogenic drugs (cocaine, crack, PCP, marijuana) at the time they alleged Daniel assaulted them, which could cause them to accuse an innocent man of actions he did not commit. Major inconsistencies existed in the accusers' testimony that ruled Daniel out as a suspect. For example, one woman, S.E., stated that her assailant was a short black man who stopped his patrol car in a public park/abandoned school yard, and then raped her for 5-10 minutes. Yet Daniel Holtzclaw is a tall, light-skinned, Japanese American man, and, significantly, the AVL/GPS evidence from Daniel's patrol car shows that it could only have been motionless in the school yard for less than 4 minutes, simply not enough time to do as was alleged. Nevertheless, Daniel was found guilty of her accusations. Another woman, R.G., with multiple felony convictions, said that the officer orally sodomized her on a day when she was getting high off of crack cocaine, and she said she wiped Daniel's alleged secretions from the oral sodomy onto her chair, yet Daniel's DNA was not found on the woman's chair, while the DNA from two other men was. Despite this lack of evidence, Daniel was found guilty of forcible oral sodomy.  We believe the legal system has failed Daniel miserably and a travesty of justice has occurred. You can learn more about the injustices in Daniel's trial by visiting www.HoltzclawTrial.com, a website created by former defense private investigator, Brian Bates, who is now posting online the facts presented in open court that the media did not report. Daniel's sister, Jenny Holtzclaw, has also created a webpage www.justicefordanielholtzclaw.com where donations for Daniel's appeal are gratefully being accepted as well as at www.FreeDanielHoltzclaw.com Please sign our petition urging Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, former Gov. Brad Henry, and Oklahoma news media to investigate the police misconduct and mishandling of Daniel's case that led to his convictions for multiple sexual assaults he did not commit, and respectfully requesting that Governor Fallin grant clemency by exonerating Daniel because he is innocent. Daniel belongs with his family, not in prison for crimes he never committed. Please help right this wrong by signing our petition to free Daniel Holtzclaw. Sincerely and with our deepest gratitude, Daniel's family and friends

Family and Friends of Daniel Holtzclaw
6,008 supporters
Petitioning Stewart Hoffman

Change the name of the City of Durant, OK to Westbrook, OK.

Ladies and gentlemen, the great state of Oklahoma has been betrayed. As many of you know, Kevin Durant has left our state, torn out our hearts, and left our beloved Oklahoma City Thunder in depleted shape. All of this after even being offered a cabinet position for the State of Oklahoma. It is because of this heinous action that I believe the State of Oklahoma has a responsibility to change the name of the City of Durant to Westbrook, the man who is loyal, whom we believe in, and who will lead our team to glory. Yes, it is understood that the city Durant was not named after the evil Kevin Durant, but it is just another hideous reminder of what happened to our community. Support the Cause. #WestbrookOK

Ryan Nazari
2,967 supporters
Petitioning Mary Fallin, Greg Treat

Make first degree murder of a child an aggravating factor for capital punishment in OKLA

In July of 2016, my 18 month old son, Lincoln, passed away. He suffered a blow to the head and was unconscious immediately. He never regained consciousness and passed away two days later. The person who committed this crime planned it out, knew when to strike, and tried to cover it up. Which is why he is facing a first degree murder charge and has been bound over for trial. Surprisingly, he is not eligible for the death penalty though. Disgusting right? I, like most people, have always thought there was some correlation between first degree murder (especially child murder) and capital punishment. That, in fact, isn’t true. Every state that supports the death penalty, has aggravating factors. The crime must meet at least one of these factors before the death penalty may be imposed . 18 out of the 31 states that support capital punishment have a lone factor regarding child murder. They flat out do not stand for it! However, Oklahoma is not one of those (please see below). This unacceptable! How is it that engaging in drug trafficking in Missouri is a factor, but murdering an Oklahoma child is not? You mean to tell me that if someone shoots two child molesters (see number 2), they're eligible... but methodically planning the murder of a baby, they're not. Please help me change this and protect our children! It's too late for Lincoln, but maybe it will save another child. If you have children PLEASE educate yourself on this. *When you come to number four, you'll think that fits the crime. Unfortunately, it does not (I'll add an explanation hyperlink below). 1) The defendant was previously convicted of a felony involving the use or threat of violence to the person; 2) The defendant knowingly created a great risk of death to more than one person; 3) The person committed the murder for remuneration or the promise of remuneration or employed another to commit the murder for remuneration or the promise of remuneration; 4) The murder was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel; 5) The murder was committed for the purpose of avoiding or preventing a lawful arrest or prosecution; 6) The murder was committed by a person while serving a sentence of imprisonment on conviction of a felony; 7) The existence of a probability that the defendant would commit criminal acts of violence that would constitute a continuing threat to society; 8) The victim of the murder was a peace officer, or correctional employee of an institution under the control of the Department of Corrections, and such person was killed while in performance of official duty. **Similarly, an "especially heinous, atrocious or cruel" aggravating circumstance was held to be unconstitutionally vague. The "especially heinous, cruel or depraved" standard is cured, however, by a narrowing interpretation requiring a finding of infliction of mental anguish or physical abuse before the victim's death. Basically, the crime doesn't meet number four because Lincoln was unconscious immediately, so he couldn't physically feel pain, and he wasn't old enough to comprehend the fact that he was about to be murdered.      

Roxanne Randall
2,699 supporters
Petitioning People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), International Animal Rescue, Animal Planet, Animal ACTion Network, MSD Saúde Animal, New York State Senate, New York State House, New York Govern...

End Kapparot animal abuse and health code violations

Kaporos and Suffering By Andrea Barrist Stern This article was written with the intention to end animal abuse, specifically the hundreds, sometimes thousands of chickens during the Jewish New Year. This tradition and animal abuse is not a mitzvah or commandment of religion but rather a custom that originated in the middle ages. Therefore, banning this tradition of animal abuse is not interfering with freedom of religion and should be banned for several reasons which are further explained in this article.  I can write this because I am a Jew, a Jew who identifies with my Judaism in large measure because of the Holocaust. The very existence of the Jews today is a victory over Nazism and I will put my body on the line to ensure there is never another Holocaust.   On Sunday evening I put my body on the line at Lubovitch headquarters in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn for the very same reason at a demonstration to end the use of chickens in a ritual called kaporos or kapparot, something I knew nothing about until a month ago. Practiced by ultra-orthodox Jews, the ritual, which dates to the Middle Ages and is not mentioned in either the Torah or the Talmud, involves swinging a live chicken by its wings or feet over one’s head and the heads of one’s children while reciting prayers to transfer the individual’s sins to the chicken. The animal’s throat is then cut on the spot by unlicensed butchers who thrust the dying bird, head down, into a funnel to struggle and bleed to death over a bucket. An estimated 50,000 chickens crammed in cages piled high atop flatbed trucks found their way to Brooklyn for this year’s kaporos rites. They had been denied food and water for days during the trip and upon their arrival, were covered in each other’s excrement and barely able to move due to shock.   Kapparot, which translates to “atonement,” “scapegoat” or “sacrifice,” is practiced between the end of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur, the solemn Day of Atonement when Jews ask forgiveness for their sins during the past year. The ultra-orthodox Jews believe that if you are intended to die during the year ahead, the chicken’s death may prevent that. And just for good measure, some of these Jews will give the chicken a kick to ensure that anything bad that could happen befalls the chicken instead. In 2005 and 2006, the ASPCA in New York City rescued hundreds of starving and ill chickens abandoned in crates in a garage and a parking lot when the ceremony was over.   This is cruel and illegal any way you look at it. On Sunday, it also felt sadly ironic. The truck laden with crated chickens that I saw parked at the Thruway rest area on my way to Brooklyn made me think immediately of the cattle cars that took Jews to their deaths during the Holocaust. In Brooklyn, we marched from Lubovitch headquarters to a local site where the ritual was being performed: the playground of a yeshiva (religious school). In the past, the ritual and slaughter often took place out in the open under tents on the sidewalks of this neighborhood. This year, it unfolded behind locked chain link gates and chicken-laden flatbeds where it could be hidden from the demonstrators and the general public.   Demonstrators report having seen 30-gallon black garbage bags filled with the resulting dead carcasses piled on the streets of the neighborhood by Yom Kippur in recent years. Some of the ultra-orthodox Jews insisted on Sunday that the slaughtered chickens are butchered and given to the poor for free. Even if the latter were true, it wouldn’t mitigate the fact that this bloodbath takes place in unregulated, makeshift slaughterhouses on public Brooklyn streets in violation of 15 city and state laws, health codes, and animal cruelty laws. The city government turns its back, although it does provide a police presence. On Sunday, and despite the uniformed police who were there, things came dangerously close to getting out of hand.   Many of the orthodox Jewish men screamed “Nazis” at the demonstrators as some among the Chasidic teenage boys hurled expletives and obscenities. The demonstrators banged their signs on the yeshiva’s chain link fence and tried to force their way in each time the gate opened. Babies in their strollers that became caught between the two sides sobbed in fear.   A surprising number of chickens were rescued off the streets by the activists, treated for their injuries and released to individuals and farm sanctuaries willing to take them. These were not egg-laying chickens and to rescue them was one of the event’s true mitzvahs (good deeds). The sad truth is that except for the actual swinging of the chickens, this is the fate that every boiler chicken faces every day. There is no end to the suffering that humans can devise for animals.   Did Sunday’s demonstration and others organized by the same activists during the previous week change minds and hearts or harden them further? A lawsuit is pending in the courts to ban the use of chickens in kapporos and that along with public outrage, is ultimately what will alter the deadlock. Some orthodox rabbis have already begun recommending that observant Jews wave money over their heads instead of chickens and then donate it to the poor, an alternative that is both reasonable and humane. Plain and simple, this is animal cruelty under the guise of religion. Regardless of our religions, every single one of us constantly needs to question our actions and whether they are motivated by love and compassion. Andrea Barrist Stern was a longtime reporter/editor and photographer at Ulster Publishing. For more information on Kaporos, go to http://www.endchickensaskaporos.com/

Andrea Stern
1,869 supporters
Closed
Petitioning JCPenney, President of the United States, Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Greg Abbott, United Nations, Louie Gohmert, U.S. House of Representatives, California State House,...

Ataxia Awareness for Research

Ataxia is a rare neuro-muscular degenerative condition that does not stop at a stage but continues to increase. Ataxia mainly affects limbs, movements and slowly it captures the whole body and becomes totally dependent. The other problems associated with the progress of ataxia are slurred speech, involuntary eye movements, vision problem, swallowing problems, cardiomyopathy, diabetes; etc Ataxia patients are mentally sound but will become physically dependent. The sufferer clearly knows and experiences the darkening future but cannot do anything because there is no cure of ataxia. This is extremely miserable situation which leads most to sufferer in deep frustration, anxiety and depression.  So it is very necessary to take steps to bring them out of this frustration and depression. Ataxia is not a common disease and the society is not well aware about ataxia. Therefore, ataxia patients are often misguided. Ataxia patients have formed self help groups and gathered many patients through Internet. These self help groups tried to spread awareness through different camps and put patient views in international conferences. But these efforts are not enough. We need support from society. There are different types of ataxia. Out of which Freidreich’s Ataxia (FA), Cerebellar Ataxia (CA), Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA) are some most common . The type of ataxia can be known through DNA test or it can be acquired (after birth). The condition of ataxia can be diagnosed by clumsiness, loss of coordination in arms or legs, unsteady or swaying gait, slurred speech, jerky limb movements.  All these are clinical symptoms by which a doctor can say that person has ataxia. But these symptoms are not enough to know the type of ataxia. We are trying so hard so others will have better options that are diagnosed later.  So that you (it does wait to show signs sometimes), our children or grandchildren do not have to suffer as much or perhaps not at all!  All we are asking for here is your signature to allow the research to be funded by the right source(s).   Unfortunately, we are finding out that somehow via (accidents [head injury],  stroke, brain tumors and other head trauma affecting Cerebellum) also sometimes Ataxia appears.  Although obviously non-genetic the exact same symptoms occur and some are even progressive. If you need more information or wish to make a personal contribution please visit The National Ataxia Foundation here:(NAF) http://www.ataxia.org/   I ask on behalf of many of my Ataxian friends! Thank you in advance, we appreciate your concern and time!

Krystal Schulze
1,335 supporters