Please Donate to the NCRJ

[Note: Friends of Justice is a personal blog. I speak only for myself.]

Dear Friend of Justice,

Many of you are donors to the National Center for Reason and Justice. If you are not currently a donor, please consider becoming one.

To donate, send a check to:

NCRJ
POB 191101
Roxbury MA 02119

To donate via credit card, click here.

Here is our current appeal letter:

November 26, 2012

 

Dear Friend,

On November 2, after 12 years, Anna Vasquez walked out of prison in Gatesville, Texas. Many people have helped her. But without the National Center for Reason and Justice she would still be behind bars.

Anna is one of four Chicana lesbians who were languishing in prison on fabricated charges of sexual molestation—until NCRJ learned of their plight three years ago. NCRJ helped build a support committee, worked with the media, including a reporter whose in-depth investigation garnered national interest, and found a great pro bono lawyer.

This year, the Texas Four moved closer to freedom. The Innocence Project of Texas (IPOT) joined the team. After 20 years, one of the accusers recanted. A documentary filmmaker is bringing passionate support to the case. The Facebook page gains members daily. Polygraph tests, paid for by NCRJ, persuaded authorities to release Anna on parole. The local newspaper called for a new trial.

NCRJ was there with money, expertise, and encouragement at every step. We are still fighting to exonerate the Texas Four—and we’re confident we will win.

It’s a tragic and inspiring story—and an impressive organizational effort. But the world is full of both. Why support the National Center for Reason & Justice?

Because NCRJ is the only organization that connects the dots between social hysteria and a broken criminal justice system—and knows that you can’t fix the latter without exposing the former.

That’s why we support people falsely accused of crimes against children—and we are the only organization that does. The bogeyman of the social panic is sometimes the communist, sometimes the African-American teen, the immigrant, or the terrorist. But for nearly three decades, he has been the sexual predator, whose prey is children. Every teacher, coach, clergyperson, teenage lover, homosexual, or divorcing spouse is under suspicion. And once accused, you’re as good as guilty.

With claims of protecting children, this hysteria has fueled ever-harsher punishment of sex offenders. And with such penalties as longer sentences and post-prison registries on the books for sex criminals, it’s easier for lawmakers and prosecutors to slash away at the human rights of everyone else who enters the criminal justice system, innocent or guilty.

Laws and policies driven by panic just fan more panic. They don’t protect children. When kids and their parents mistrust all other adults, no one feels safe and kids cannot grow independent. Hysteria about malevolent strangers also effaces real abuse, which is most likely to happen at home.

NCRJ fights the hysteria and the bad laws it produces. We fight both for reason and for justice.

NCRJ is accomplishing what we promised you last year we’d do—and doing more of it. We’re looking to expand our collaboration with IPOT to other Innocence Projects. Our board members have been traveling, linking up with academics, artists, and activists outside our usual circles, such as the National Coalition Against Censorship and Queers for Economic Justice. Toward the goal of changing those bad laws, we proudly welcome Mary Sue Molnar to our board, who leads the 500-member sex law reform organization Texas Voices.

We’re also focusing this year on clarifying our message and media presentation to broaden our base, strengthen our board, and boost our budget. By winning justice for some, we are working for a fairer and saner future for all.

Please make a tax-deductible donation of $500, $250, $100, or whatever you can to support this important work. We urge you to become a sustaining member by pledging a monthly contribution. To donate, send a check or go to ncrj.org/donate.

With sincere thanks,

 

Mike Snedeker

President, Board of Directors