NARSOL, along with many of its affiliates, contacts, and volunteers, is undertaking a nation-wide initiative to combat the plethora of fear-mongering that arises each Halloween regarding those required to register on a sex offense registry.
The Patch publications have been especially diligent and prolific in this regard, often printing maps with little dots showing where registered persons (aka “monsters,” “bogeymen,” “pedophiles,” “ghouls”) happen to live.
There are Patch outlets in every state, a total of 1,213 according to their latest count, and in at least half of the states, they print a “Patch Halloween Safety Map” during the month of October. This map shows little dots where every registered citizen in the jurisdiction lives and is part of an article admonishing parents that the way to keep their children safe during trick-or-treat is by knowing where all the registered persons live.
This project is spearheaded by a variety of national and state leaders and other dedicated advocates. Instrumental are Cindy and Maria (Connecticut), Scott and Ben (Illinois), Richard (New Hampshire) and Brenda, Robin, and Sandy (NARSOL).
NARSOL wrote a “cease and desist” letter that was sent by postal mail and email to Patch’s chief executive officers at corporate headquarters in New York City. We also emailed the letter to key editors at three of New York’s major newspapers with a cover letter explaining our position and the project. An op-ed was also submitted for consideration for publication with one of the newspapers.
Scott created a spreadsheet listing all the states and their Patch outlets. NARSOL organized an Advancing Advocacy teleconference. Those attending had the opportunity to volunteer to participate in mailing the “cease and desist” letter to Patches in the states that yearly print the Halloween Safety Maps or otherwise hype the “danger” of those on the registry to trick-or-treating children at Halloween – a danger that is shown to be non-existent. Volunteers signed up to mail letters not only in their home states but also in states where NARSOL has no official contacts.
You can participate in this effort! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org and let him know where you are and how many Patches you’d like to contact. He will provide a pdf of NARSOL’s letter, a cover letter for you, and contact info for a group of Patch websites.
Time is of the essence! Some of the Patches have already put up their “Safety Map” for 2017. There is no better time than now to start dispelling the myths surrounding registered citizens. It is up to each of us to do our part.
Sandy, a NARSOL board member, is communications director for NARSOL, editor-in-chief of the Digest, and a writer for the Digest and the NARSOL website. Additionally, she participates in updating and managing the website and assisting with a variety of organizational tasks.