From Independence to Houston; NARSOL announces next conference

By Robin Vander Wall . . . NARSOL’s Tenth National Conference has come and gone. The conference planning committee met on Monday immediately after the last day of the conference to evaluate its performance and prepare to give a preliminary report to NARSOL’s board of directors which meets on the second Tuesday of each month.

More than 150 people from across the United States, some from as far away as Washington, Oregon, Florida, and California, came together in Independence, Ohio, for the nation’s oldest national conference concerning registered citizens and remained there for three days of seminars and plenary presentations covering a range of topics from how to tell a story to how to become a more effective advocate at the state legislature.

Conference guests were privileged to witness a mock legislative hearing staffed by two state senators and moderated by attorney Barb Wright. Ohio’s former attorney general, Marc Dann, gave a sincere talk about his role in helping that state become the first to adopt the Adam Walsh Act and was candid about his misgivings and regrets in retrospect. Guests were also enthused with plenary sessions by attorneys Jeff Gamso, Lea Bickerton, and NARSOL’s very own attorney, Paul Dubbeling, who held the Sunday morning audience spellbound with an inspirational presentation about how to win legal battles in an era defined by jurisprudential conservatism.

Perhaps the high water mark of the conference was attorney and documentarian David Feige’s Saturday afternoon session entitled Framing sex offenders: The complexities and challenges of talking about registrants. David presented conference guests with two of his recent mini-docs dispelling the myths of sex offender recidivism and showing the devastating effects of living as a registered citizen. He then gave a frank talk about the challenges of advocating for change through the media of journalism and films.

NARSOL’s annual awards banquet occurred on Friday night where several individuals were recognized for their hard work and sacrifices directly in support of NARSOL’s advocacy or by virtue of their efforts independent of NARSOL but in support of its vision and mission. Fred Allen was recognized as 2018 Advocate of the Year, and long-time treasurer and board director Larry Neely received commendation as the recipient of NARSOL’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The ACLU of Michigan was presented with the very first Hawthorne Award signifying its work and successful efforts prosecuting the Does v. Snyder case.

On Saturday night, guests were treated to anniversary cake in celebration of the tenth conference. David Feige was awarded the Braveheart Award for his devotion to advocacy on behalf of registered citizens through his work with documentary films.

The conference was a huge success full of opportunities for guests to network with each other and share their stories in a warm and inviting atmosphere. Special mention should also be made about the superior work of conference volunteers who were coordinated by Stephen May of AZRSOL. The silent auction went very well thanks to the efforts of Patricia Borden and the many individuals who generously donated items for auction.

Special thanks also go to Tammy J, chair of the conference planning committee; Brenda Jones, executive director of NARSOL; Andy Stein, who oversaw what has become a fairly complex audio-visual operation for the national conferences; and Mardy C, who was responsible for putting together a slideshow of previous NARSOL conferences that was viewed during the banquet meal on Friday night.

The board wishes to express its gratitude to everyone who helped make the 2018 conference a success, in particular, our conference sponsors and advertisers, the members of the conference planning committee, our conference volunteers, conference speakers and presenters, and, most especially, all the people who made the journey to Independence, Ohio.

NARSOL’s next conference is scheduled for June 6-9, 2019, and will be held at the Marriott South at Hobby Airport in Houston, Texas. Hope to see you then and there.

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Robin Vander Wall

As vice chair of NARSOL, Robin is the managing editor of the Digest, director of development, and provides assistance to the webmaster in keeping our websites running smoothly. He also serves as founder and president of Vivante Espero, NARSOL's 501(c)(3) foundation and legal fund.

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    • #41988 Reply
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      Boris

      What is outcome of this conference? Did they sennd any resolution to legislative? What progress was make in sex offender process?

      • #41998 Reply
        Robin Vander Wall
        Robin Vander Wall
        Admin

        Boris, You’re apparently confused about why organizations hold conferences. Have you asked the same question of the ACLU? NAACP? NRA? Becoming connected to the people you are working with in order to achieve a shared vision is certainly not a new idea. And conferences facilitate that goal. Alternatively, you can elect to sit over there and lob an occasional word-bomb at folks and imagine that you’re making some progress. But you’re not. Still, good luck with it.

        • #43289 Reply
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          Jeff

          Damn, man. The dude may have just been asking questions. #leaveborisalone

    • #41994 Reply
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      Tyrus Young

      I wish to thank all that planned and executed this 10th conference. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend, but congratulate all that could make it for their participation. The information shared is valuable in our ongoing efforts to change “. With more and more legislative attention being brought to bear, hopefully we will start to see an exponential effect on attention being paid to our situation.

      Many registrants out there do not recognize all of the hard work that NARSOL does on our behalf. The convention is a wonderful display and demonstration of all they are doing and I encourage all members able to join next year’s conference (incuding myself) and view the demonstration of all that this organization is doing for us.

    • #41999 Reply
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      WearethePeople

      I wish I could have been there! It sounds like you had a lot of people that I would have like to heard what they had to say. Next year maybe. Will you have video of the conference on this site? Maybe we can have the conference in Washington DC, and march for Sex Offending Laws to be changed in USA. Or would this have to be done on the Federal Level? Would President Trump be able to help us get this changed? I want these laws changed, and I want to know how to do this. It is not right that young men and children are labeled as to something they are not. This problem needs to be corrected. It should not be so easy for someone who has a title to set up someone. It is not funny how quickly things can go from good to bad. The media has a lot to do with it, but it is also the charges that people hear from them. This also needs to change, like Statutory Rape =Statutory Sexual Assault when it is consensual, but the laws say no it is not because. The laws are in constant change. I didn’t know that this law even excited until my grandson called me and said that he was going to be arrested for Statutory Sexual Assault. This is as well as other charges that the State Police put in there so they can make at least one fit.

      • #42008 Reply
        Sandy Rozek
        Sandy Rozek
        Admin

        Yes, there will be video available at our YouTube channel. Check back every couple of days.

        Given that our president is a very strict “law and order” man, I would not expect him to be helpful in favoring legislation that will be perceived as being “soft” on those who commit sexual crimes.

        • #42041 Reply
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          R M

          While as you say “…our president is a very strict “law and order” man…”, he has pardoned several people for their crime being an “injustice” (Trumps word)… isn’t the registry an injustice? Also, he (Trump) believes he is above the law, so why can’t he save the U.S. billions by getting rid of registries and all the “supervision” that comes with it? After all, Trump is a business man vice a politician.

        • #42054 Reply
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          Maestro

          Sandy,

          Trump has a 13 yr old (maybe now he’s 14) son. Send him the articles about what curious kids do and what many of us (that would include him) may have been sexually curious about when we were in that age bracket.
          I’m sure he wouldn’t want to find HIS son being charged with this type of HUMAN NATURE turned CRIME.
          No matter how wonderful a parent thinks they are, kids STILL have curiosity, much like cats. It’s just in our natural makeup.

    • #42005 Reply
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      Tim Poxson

      It was a great conference!! As for changes, they will be at the State Level not the Federal level. If you did away with the Adam Walsh Act the states would still have their own systems in place. Change will happen when each person that has a voice uses their voice in a positive manner at the State level. Those affected by these darcaron laws need to speak up for change. Change will come in small bits at the apple not by trying to eat the apple in one setting. It will take work, and the right plaintiffs if lawsuits are filed. And most of all it will take time. But we can now see the tide is changing in the courts and even at the federal level given the
      Doe-V-Snyder case ruling. No one would have thought that a federal circuit court would rule that the AWA would be ruled ex post facto punishment as applied in Michigan. As a group we are just at the start of the process. If for some reason you can not speak out then I suggest you give money when you can to NARSOL legal fund, or become a member of your State ACLU and start putting pressure on them to take this fight up. But most of all do not give up as this fight can be won. We may not win each case but the long run this can be won with staying in there and working together when we can.

    • #42048 Reply
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      Elizabeth

      Is it possible to get a hard copy of David Feige’s mini-docs? Sounds most helpful when dealing with legislators. Thanks.

    • #42083 Reply
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      Mig

      I hope that none of the money I have donated to NARSOL went towards the purchase of a cake that says, “Celebrating 10 yrs of Conferencing”. I would think that the tenor of the conference would not be “celebrating”, but rather be one of things like planning strategies, implementing tactics, etc., to end this nightmarish SO registry. Many people that are affected by the SO registry (including myself) often see it as being similar to nazi actions that must be ended. I bet General Eisenhower and the other military leaders did not have any cakes that said, “Celebrating 4 yrs of War” at their meetings as they planned how to win the war.
      I ask NARSOL this… if (and when) the SO registry is abolished, will you be GRIEVING the fact that there is no longer any need for a conference? Will you have a cake that says, “Grieving no more Conferences”? Probably not. Therefore, please don’t be “Celebrating” the need to have a conference now. Keep working toward the day when the celebrating is truly due. Perhaps the proper cake decoration at your conference last week should have read, “Pissed off that we have to keep having conferences after 10 yrs”.

      • #42089 Reply
        Sandy Rozek
        Sandy Rozek
        Admin

        Rest easy, Mig. None of your much-appreciated donations were spent on cake. We had a generous sponsorship just for the cakes. You are welcome to label any future donations for legal action only, and they will be put directly into the legal fund.
        We do not celebrate that we need to have a conference. We celebrate that for over ten years we have been privileged to be involved in this very important civil and human rights issue.
        Thank you for your support.

        • #42169 Reply
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          Mig

          You had a “generous sponsorship” for cake? Wow!
          Seriously though… I was in the conference/hospitality industry for decades and I have seen many organizations become so focused on annual conferences that valuable and precious resources (time, money, personnel, etc.) were squandered on planning and attending these “feel-good” events which, in the end, were not necessary to achieve their clear & stated goals. I often see NARSOL as that lone voice in the wilderness that helps many of us realize we are not alone in this struggle.
          My whole point in questioning the 10 yr celebratory cake was not about the cost of it, but rather my own concerns that NARSOL (and those in attendance at the annual conference) are slowly getting lulled into a celebratory mood of award presenting, fellowship, back-slapping, and “atta boys” rather than becoming a true and powerful force to be reckoned which puts fear and/or common sense into the legislative hearts & minds of those elected & appointed officials that are able to make the changes we all so desperately hope for, pray for, yearn for, and dream about.
          In a way, I want NARSOL to be an organization as dreaded and feared as the ACLU by government officials. I want NARSOL to be scary. I want NARSOL to be vocal. I want NARSOL to be strong and mighty. I want NARSOL to be darn effective. I want NARSOL to bang its collective fists on the table of injustice, and sometimes flip that table over. I want NARSOL to inspire people who have no “dog in the fight” against the SO registry to get on board with us. I want NARSOL to be a pain to each and every law maker that doesn’t see things our way. I want NARSOL to be rationally angry, mad, pissed off, and spitting nails. I want NARSOL to be an example to other organizations of how to right the wrongs our government has created. I want NARSOL to be the first thing that pops into the mind of every legislator whenever any new restrictive legislation is proposed regarding the SO registry. I want to hear about NARSOL on national tv & radio. I want NARSOL to be loud & visible. I want the American public to be sick of having to hear about NARSOL.
          I want NARSOL to show power and strength and truth and sensible logic. I want NARSOL to flex its collective muscle. I want NARSOL to, figuratively, throw punches and win the fight. I want NARSOL to win. I want NARSOL to be victorious. I want NARSOL to deliver blow after blow until our opponent surrenders. I want NARSOL to do all these things.

          I’m sure the cake was nice… but cake, both literally and figuratively, is not the food of winners.

          • #42174 Reply
            Sandy Rozek
            Sandy Rozek
            Admin

            Thank you, Mig. We very much appreciate your input and your point of view. It is well expressed, and I feel that I can safely say on behalf of NARSOL that we want everything for NARSOL that you want.

      • #42160 Reply
        Avatar
        TS

        A ten year cake is fine because if there was no one to fight for RCs nationwide, then there would be no need for a cake. Frankly, it is good there is an organization who is willing to take on SOLs nationwide and try to turn the tide, so have your cake and eat it too!! Keep up the good fight because as long as there are ignorant legislatures, Congresses, and elected officials, there will be a need for organizations like NARSOL and the state affiliates.

    • #42091 Reply
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      Dru Lowery

      At Mig, well said!!!

      At Narsol, ouch!!!

    • #42094 Reply
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      Tim Lawver

      Frankly, I have no objection to the cake, it’s words or decoration. My question is….Will NARSOL approach Jack Phillips of Colorado to make the cake for next year’s conference in Texas? A good way to get free pub!

      Seriously!

      Tim L.

    • #42117 Reply
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      Saddles

      I really like the cake celebrating 10 yrs. and sure their will be pro’s and con’s about who baked the cake or who’s expense but I’m very sure a good baker can always volenteer for a good cause. Of course when I make up and design my magnets whether its my winery show’s I do or my Good New’s magnets I either have a passage or for the winery’s also such as ” Wine take’s the bitch out of me which a lot of women like and several other cute sayings. And yes my PO lets me go to my winery festivals. Even the colorful labels on the bottle people like to pick up as they are traveling. Another one is Wine a lot you’ll feel better.

      A good slogan would do on the bottom of that Celebrating such sas I did it my way.. nah thats too bing Crosby. How about helpng americans seek change or let freedom ring nah.. to liberty bell. Ok what about Helping advocating for change, or for true Justice. Anyway its just an idea for Houston or should we just say saddle up. lol

      • #42192 Reply
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        Mig

        Sinatra sang “I did it my way”. Many others also recorded it but Bing Crosby never did. However, Bing Crosby sang “If I had my way”.
        If we’re talking any sort of theme songs here, then I think Twisted Sisters “We’re Not Gonna Take It” would be very appropriate. Here are the lyrics:

        Oh we’re not gonna take it
        No, we ain’t gonna take it
        Oh we’re not gonna take it anymore
        We’ve got the right to choose it
        There ain’t no way we’ll lost it
        This is our life, this is our song
        We’ll fight the powers that be just
        Don’t pick our destiny ’cause
        You don’t know us, you don’t belong
        Oh we’re not gonna take it
        No, we ain’t gonna take it
        Oh we’re not gonna take it anymore
        Oh you’re so condescending
        Your gall is never ending
        We don’t want nothin’, not a thing from you
        Your life is trite and jaded
        Boring and confiscated
        If that’s your best, your best won’t do
        Oh Oh
        We’re right (yeah)
        We’re free (yeah)
        We’ll fight (yeah)
        You’ll see (yeah)
        Oh we’re not gonna take it
        No, we ain’t gonna take it
        Oh we’re not gonna take it anymore
        Oh we’re not gonna take it
        No, we ain’t gonna take it
        Oh we’re not gonna take it anymore
        No way
        Oh Oh
        We’re right (yeah)
        We’re free (yeah)
        We’ll fight (yeah)
        You’ll see (yeah)
        Oh we’re not gonna take it
        No, we ain’t gonna take it
        Oh we’re not gonna take it anymore
        Oh we’re not gonna take it
        No, we ain’t gonna take it
        Oh we’re not gonna take it anymore
        Just you try and make us
        We’re not gonna take it
        Come on!
        No, we ain’t gonna take it
        You’re all worthless and weak
        We’re not gonna take it anymore
        Now drop and give me twenty
        We’re not gonna take it
        Oh pledge pin
        No, we ain’t gonna take it
        Oh you and your uniform
        We’re not gonna take it anymore

    • #42381 Reply
      Avatar
      Saddles

      Wow someone sung that song to pieces. Is this not the home of the free and the brave. Me and my big mouth. Solving things and compairing notes is good and sure I would love to get to a conference at some time. The NARSOL conference is very interesting because its about humans. Its not all about behavior or proper etiquette that each human should posses. its about Human Rights and how some can abuse people or overempowerment.
      Sure everyone has their views on all this type of situation the same as the detainment of the children that was quickly patched up for a time to make the outcriy of the public happy. How Government swing it I dont’ even want to know. Any organization that fights for the recongizion that others are being taken advantage of has my approval and I’m sure you all would agree. Reconition is good and yes one can be praised for his or her loyality to the cause of helping fight this or that battle. At times we can over prase also and all make wrong errors in things such as this immigration thing happening in Texas and when human’ authority is wrong they seem to want to cover up things. Part of American history. I enjoy NARSOL myself and am glad they are here to help in this battle. Bottom line its all about principals and human

      understanding. Sure we are all created equal but are we all still free or do good business practrices solve human errors for kings and queens. I would comment pride goeth before the fall but a lot of this registry is not necessary and change needs to be made. If we don’t stand up than who will stand up for us or is that a bit bit abusive today in this 100 percent zero tolarence era. Trusting is better than trying and I trust NARSOL will make the best endeavor.

    • #44654 Reply
      Avatar
      Thomas Darby

      I wanted to attend the conference in Ohio, but being on social insecurity made it way out of my reach. I did not find out until too late that NARSOL offered a Scholarship program… will that be offered for the Houston conference as well? I’d really like to attend… and save my pennies for things like fuel and a place to stay. Please let me know. Thank you.

    • #48858 Reply
      Avatar
      Chuck

      I’m saddened to hear bickering over a cake and the nature of the conference. Conferences are important so that there is a unified focus and reduction of redundent efforts unknowingly missing an opportunity for synergy. More important to me, however, as I read some posts is the vitriol that leaked out. We all feel angry and frustrated, somewhat powerless, etc. over the horrible abuse our government has heaped upon us and our families. But to pick at nits without full understanding is a but like those “misinformed” vigalantes that seem to pop up everywhere with an opinion that attacks without forethought. I rejoice that NARSOL has worked ten years to bring the change we are seeing. And I also hope that it won’t take ten more years to retire the need for NARSOL. As we wait and work, I hope we can all offer each other the benefit if the doubt that we personally are deprived of daily. Conferences are powerful times of strategy and focus, growth and information. As a professional, I never regret paying huge fees to attend a conference in my field, and do not begrudge those who attend with hope in bettering some part if the lives of others. Let’s play nice and show the world how it should be done.

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