June 3, 2020, 1:18 pm
Dear Members and Advocates,
As we begin to emerge from the coronavirus shut-down, we enter another period of unrest and uncertainty. Across this country, groups of people are hitting the streets to protest the tragic and senseless killing of George Floyd. George was an African-American man, who was killed during an arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The officer who arrested him was charged with his murder and understandably communities across the country are outraged at the delay it took to bring charges and the fact that others who stood by and did nothing have not yet been charged.
The murder of George Floyd has nothing to do with the sex offender registry but public reaction to law enforcement and, in turn, reaction to the protesters has a lot to do with the registry or how we, as a society, stigmatize an entire group because of a few bad apples among them.
We always try to explain that people on the registry are not homogenous, but we are all perceived as and treated the same. Unquestionably a few might be genuinely dangerous, but the overwhelming majority of those on the list are simply law abiding individuals who paid their debt to society and are now assets to the community. Similarly, there are unquestionably law enforcement officers who are racists or use unnecessary excessive force, but the overwhelming majority are good people. And also the protesters. Yes, there are delinquents among them who are looting and setting cars on fire, but the overwhelming majority are exercising their first amendment right and making their voices heard.
In every population there are few who are bad seeds (even among religious leaders and teachers), but we can’t assume all are the same as the worst of them or discard the entire group because of a few. We don’t want the public to perceive or treat everyone in law enforcement as a violent racist because they are not. We don’t want the public to perceive or treat every protester as a vandal or looter because they are not. And we don’t want the public to perceive or treat everyone on the sex offender registry as a dangerous recidivist because they are not. Police have to be trusted to do the job they are sworn to do, people need to be comfortable in exercising their Constitutional right to peacefully assemble and those whose punishment has been served need to be given the ability to successfully re-integrate into the community.
Given the public sentiment towards the police, can you imagine how reckless it would be for the government to put up a list stigmatizing them? Not only that, but to also publish their pictures, where they live and what cars they drive? How comfortably would their families sleep at night knowing there was a huge target on their backs? Nobody should have to live like that.
The sex offender registry fosters an implicit bias (an unconscious attribution of particular qualities to a member of a certain social group) against everybody on it, regardless of their offense, how long ago it was committed or what they have done to redeem themselves since. It then provides a hit list for anyone who wants to do them harm.
The world needs to stop judging people for the worst thing they have ever done or punishing a class of people for the actions of the worst among them.
The Florida Action Committee
JUNE 4 – NEW TIME FOR JUNE Membership Call: Thursday June 4th at 7:30 pm ET. This call will be hosted by NARSOL Region 2. Watch for details.
JUNE 6 – Family Support session (via Zoom) facilitated by Jill Levenson and Shelly Kavanugh. Saturday June 6 from 11am to 1pm. To receive access, must RSVP by to email@example.com or leave message at 407-814-4203 (name and phone number). This session is only available to family members or loved ones (not the registered person).
JUNE 11 – NEW MEMBER ORIENTATION CALL. Thursday June 11th at 8:00 pm ET. Anyone can call-in to learn about the organization, resources, and Volunteer opportunities. Dial 319-527-3487.
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Author: FAC Contributor #6
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