Shared Parenting Advocates Applaud Fathers 4 Justice Lincoln
By Herb Brandon
Israel News Agency
Jerusalem ----August 20 ....... At least two British Fathers
4 Justice activists were arrested as they protested gender bias
discrimination and lack of access to their children at the Lincoln
Memorial in Washington DC on Friday.
divorced dads, wearing Captain America and Batman costumes,
the landmark memorial and unfurled a banner which read:
"For the Fathers of the Nation: Fathers 4 Justice has arrived."
Parks Police officers evacuated dozens of tourists from the
memorial, which has been the site of many famous speeches, including
Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" address.
men were identified as Jolly Stanesby, from Ivybridge, Devon,
and Mike Downes, from Manchester. Both men have been detained
in the UK for similar protests.
February, Stanesby was arrested for climbing Stonehenge while
dressed as Fred Flintstone. In November 2004 both men, dressed
as Father Christmas, forced the closure of the Severn Bridge
when they spent more than five hours on its gantry.
founder Matt O'Connor told the Israel News Agency that
the non-violent protest against gender bias discrimination marks
the start of a Fathers 4 Justice campaign in the US.
a two-hour meeting with Dr.
Farrell where the plan was hatched. There is a fragmented
fathers movement in the United States that would, it appears,
unify with a common sense of purpose and solidarity to raise
awareness of this vital social issue. We will be campaigning
throughout the US during the US Presidential campaign to create
greater awareness among the candidates and the public. F4J is
even planning on running one of our own candidates in this election."
have been inspired by the words of Dr. Farrell, Dr. Baskerville,
conference organiser Tom Golden and leading US radio DJ Glenn
Sacks, to start work immediately on a battle plan to commence
our educational campaign in the United States at the earliest
say that the plans are at an evaluation stage at
the moment, but that with the pre-requisite funding and infrastructure,
there was nothing to stop the organization creating a provocative
and humorous campaign within weeks.
social scientist Dr Stephen Baskerville said today, With
this development, we have a chance to build a fire under this
Israel, in the UK, in the US and around the world we are now
witnessing a revolution where divorced, loving and caring dads
are now demanding equal access to their children." Leyden
adds: "The Lincoln Memorial was a fitting location to protest
gender bias discrimination, as Martin Luther King Jr. had protested
racial discrimination there. These were brave, caring and loving
dads who placed their lives on the line just to have equal time
with their children. They are not criminals, they are truly
Stanesby and Mike Downes scaled the statue as the tourists gathered
around were warned by Park Police to put their cameras down
and stop "encouraging them". But many of the tourists
upon recognizing the human rights protest and its cause began
Fathers 4 Justice "support crew" of four other father's
and children's rights campaigners was also held as the memorial
was evacuated by US authorities.
group - which campaigns to ensure divorced fathers are given
access to their children - warned that this was the first of
"many, many more" similar protests across the States.
said: "Yet again Fathers 4 Justice in the UK has led the
way with an audacious protest to raise the global profile of
fatherlessness and the social catastrophe it is causing in first
the problem is not one that is unique to any one country or
culture, a first world problem requires a first world, international
is our response to the inaction of the US authorities in child
welfare, in family courts, in local and federal states. There
will be many, many more to follow.
we have lit the flame, we can begin the struggle to make equal
parenting a reality in the United States, and combat the insidious
gender apartheid that separates children from their fathers
in the family courts."
group plans to run its first national awareness campaign in
the US during the presidential elections.
and Downes unveiled their Captain America and Batman costumes
after first scaling the memorial dressed as tourists and unfurled
a white banner which read: "For the Fathers of the Nation:
Fathers 4 Justice has arrived www.f4jusa.com."
memorial, which is on the National Mall in the US capital, was
built to honor the 16th US President Abraham Lincoln and has
been the site of many famous speeches, including Martin Luther
King's "I Have a Dream", delivered on August 28 1963,
during the rally at the end of the March on Washington for Jobs
4 Justice has staged similar stunts in the UK including scaling
Big Ben, York Minster, Westminster Abbey and the Royal Courts
of Justice, as well as throwing purple powder at then English
Prime Minister Tony Blair in the House of Commons.
rights activist Bob Norton was present in Washington when the
two Fathers 4 Justice activists beached security and climbed
onto the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. He sent MensNewsDaily.com
the following eye-witness account of the incident:
was at the Lincoln Memorial today and witnessed and filmed two
F4J UK folks climb into Abe Lincolns lap at the Lincoln
Memorial. I was detained for about an hour by park police and
a SWAT team arrived quickly thereafter. Although they were respectful
to me, they patted me down three times and I told them I did
not consent to any search.
was quarter of a mile away after they cleared the room when
a park ranger tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to come
back. There were about 150 or more people in the Lincoln Memorial
room when it started, many were taking pictures and video. One
fellow yelled and tried to get everyone to stop taking pictures
saying 'Thats what they want.'
security guards tackled Bob Dickerson to the floor and sat on
him. They forced his head into the stone floor. The security
people over-reacted for sure. I think they tackled him just
because he was trying to leave. The SWAT people that arrived
earlier were more level-headed.
these men water, not handcuffs.
They have already been handcuffed from their kids."
got this all on video but they seized my video chip and returned
my camera. In addition to the two F4j UK guys I surmised that
two others were arrested, though I was separated from others
most of the time while detained.
have learned that the names of the U.S. citizens arrested are
Bob Dickerson and Donald Ten. Don is the F4J California coordinator.
is F4Js mission to do peaceful protests but the timing
and location probably are not the best for this type of thing
in DC with the hair trigger our government shows in using the
Patriot Act etc.
must have been at least 10 people videotaping this event so
I would expect some video to be available soon.
two F4J protesters climbed up the monument with help from a
couple of others who I believe passed up stuff to them. They
then changed into their superhero suits on top of Lincolns
lap and began to put up a sign.
the security people came in, they began to clear the room and
took no action to get them down. Just told them to come down.
I started to leave, as I was asked with everyone else to leave.
best guess is they were up there 30-40 minutes, and I saw some
video that was shot with a zoom lens from outside where you
could see them up there. I was detained outside where I could
see nothing but the SWAT guy told me they were taken down in
the elevator to the police bus. I am told they are at 'Central
Cell Block' in lock down tonight.
video I saw from another source shows all this and should be
available at the US F4J site by morning."
civil rights group Fathers 4 Justice (F4J) was founded in December
2002 by Matt O'Connor after he experienced first hand the injustices
of the secret family courts as he struggled to see his two boys
Daniel and Alexander after a traumatic divorce. Started as a
vehicle for social change, F4J quickly became the high-wire
act of protest groups, whether powder-bombing the Prime Minister
in the House of Commons, scaling the balcony at Buckingham Palace
in a Batman Costume, invading the Pulpit at York Minster during
a General Synod Service or taking the National Lottery Draw
live off air on BBC1 in front of ten million viewers.
behind the headlines and dramatic protests is a new creed for
family law enshrined in our documents "Family Justice On
Trial Opening The Door On Closed Courts" and "Blueprint
For Family Law In The 21st Century." These pioneering,
ideas-led documents set out radical and visionary frameworks
for a fair, just, open and equitable system of family law. Both
documents are essential reading and available on this web site
for the first time.
temporarily suspended operations on 18th January 2006 after
extremist elements from splinter groups were accused in the
Sun Newspaper of plotting to kidnap the UK Prime Minister's
son. At the time he said "We are in the business of reuniting
children with their fathers, not separating them."
then the group has resumed activities, combining constructive
engagement with direct action, recommencing activities on May
20th 2006 with it's controversial "Family Law Lotto: Next
Time It Could Be You" protest on BBC1.
series of spectacular protests are planned for 2007 including
"Fathers 4 Justice Day," a unique Father's Day protest
which was held in London on Friday, 15th June 2007.
campaigns not just in the name of the father, but in the name
of all parents, grandparents and children seeking equality in
family law. The achievements of F4J to date are best described
by the Times Newspaper who in January 2006 wrote:
caught the spirit of the times: they reflected the zeitgeist,
and they changed it...for all the flaws within F4J, the issue
of fatherhood has a currency that would have been unimaginable
three years ago...when historians look back on British Society
at the start of the third millennium, they will accord a small
but important chapter to the men in tights."
just a few years Fathers 4 Justice has not only effected "climate
change", but it has also succeeded in discrediting the
secret courts and undermining public confidence in them. The
result has been to force the government to advance proposals
to open up the secret family courts to greater scrutiny and
propose tougher enforcement of contact orders.
current system of family justice is a grotesque obscenity that
is untenable in its current form. We do not recognize the authority
of these secret courts. Whatever it takes, however long it takes
and whatever the sacrifice, we will prevail and achieve the
reforms that every child and family in this country desperately
deserve and need," says O'Connor.
U.S.A. is a federally recognized 501(c)(3) organization, so
all memberships and financial contributions are 100% tax-deductible.
who serves in the reserves in the security forces in Israel
had the following advice for both divorced dads who wish to
protest and the police and other security forces in the US.
Fathers 4 Justice first came to the United States about a year
ago, they were being tracked by FBI and NYPD INTEL agents. The
group blew the agents cover and began a dialogue that basically
turned into a warm, respectful and friendly compromise. The
compromise was that Fathers 4 Justice would promise not to protest
in New York in exchange for a New
feature on the plight of divorced dads who are denied access
to their children."
concludes: "US INTEL has a pretty good idea of who Fathers
4 Justice activists are and rather than chasing them down US
landmarks at gunpoint (not good for any child to witness) they
should work with them. Police and other security forces must
understand that even in a post 9 / 11 society that a true democracy
embraces acts of non-violent protests for human rights. The
divorced dads should contact local law enforcement as they commence
their protests against gender bias discrimination so that local
law enforcement will know that these guys are not not evil and
deadly Islamic terrorists from al Qaeda, Hamas or Islamic Jihad.
And law enforcement officers should respect these men for creating
an awareness campaign for which only all of our children can
these men water, not handcuffs. They have already been handcuffed
from their kids."