By Dr. Leon Koziol
Parenting Rights Institute
Given what we had to work with only two weeks ago, a $475 budget, the Parenting Rights Institute produced the most successful parental rights event known in our nation’s capital. For those who did not come, you missed out on history. For those who did, you got great satisfaction, new friendships and something for your personal scrapbooks to last a lifetime, exactly as I promised three months ago when this all began.
For those who did not know about this event, your opportunity lies in the future of our movement which this March has galvanized to unprecedented levels. The events were conducted exactly as I laid out in my 3-day itinerary beginning with a caravan from Liberty State Park in New Jersey. We went from small numbers in drizzly weather to a peak performance in beautiful sunny weather at our nation’s Capitol Building.
To get a sense of what you missed, roughly 100 aggrieved moms and dads converged in front of the White House on May 3, 2019 to demand an investigation of America’s family courts and the human rights violations caused by federal funding abuses in those courts. Our goal was to shift national focus from the Mueller Report and the parent-child separations at our borders to those occurring daily to American parents in our family courts here at home.
After one hour of messages conveyed through bullhorns, banners and signage, and not to mention a permit granted by the National Park Service weeks earlier that included our message, a group exited from inside the White House to view our event.We definitely captured the attention of tourist groups and passers-by. I was veritably impressed with the speeches and First Amendment activity at the start of our March in Lafayette Square Park. Everything was non-vulgar and non-violent as I required.
Then, at 1 pm, we left that venue, and as we approached the avenues of Washington D.C. under the separate jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Police, three police cars and two motorcycles lit up their emergency lights to escort us down Pennsylvania Avenue for the 2 mile trip to the Capitol and Supreme Court. Now you have to imagine this for awhile before reading on.
The entire three lane eastbound Pennsylvania Avenue (not just one lane as originally promised) was cleared just for our March. When was the last time you took control of the most prominent thoroughfare in the world? As we arrived at the Capitol, it got better. We were escorted across the other side of the Avenue to enter the Capitol grounds for the continuation of our March. Here the third jurisdiction took control of our procession, the Capital Park Police. At one point during that cross-over, all six lanes of Pennsylvania Avenue was ours.
The fragrance of diverse flowers greeted us as we were directed onto the large pedestrian walkway under perfect weather conditions, 82 degrees and sunny with a feeling of the tropics as we continued. Our message was necessarily clear, simple and repetitive. Three questions from our March leaders with three answers from March participants which captivated office workers on lunch breaks, tourists eager to see such displays and member of Congress who were put on notice of this March during our lobbying campaign the day before. I think I still hear us all in my dreams:
“Who are we?”
“What do we want?”
“When do we want it?”
Thanks to Glenn Svobota, whose voice was nearly gone by the time we reached our 2-mile destination, this message resonated so that it did not get lost with the countless others that have diluted rallies sponsored by other groups. More importantly, our message resonated while Congress was in session (as opposed to the summer events I’ve attended). We made two stops along the way in front of the Justice Department Building and Supreme Court where one of our participants, Dr. Anthony Pappas, had a case pending there focused on court corruption.
We ended the March on the Capitol grounds across the street from the Supreme Court where a sound system was provided for speakers. All were given the opportunity to present their ordeals and petitions to be included in a documentary being produced by Philadelphia Attorney Lawrence DeMarco. So effective was our message that inquiring tourists were anxious to buy our yellow tee-shirts with the bold letters “Parent March on Washington.”
I was honored to lead this March down Pennsylvania Avenue in my favorite blue NYPD shirt accompanied on my side by Super Bowl winner Jamie Brown of the NFL Denver Broncos. Jamie was one of our parade marshals who reported that this March was more rewarding than the one he was given for his Super Bowl victory.
After a celebration at the Capitol Grill Restaurant, our three-day event concluded at the premier location for events, Area One in front of the Capitol with the Washington Monument in the opposite background. Here we conducted a Candle Light Vigil in memory of veterans, parents and children lost to suicide, parent alienation and premature death. It was led by Steven Boyd and his family (Gabriella Boyd Foundation) who lost a two year old child to this family court epidemic
Sadly, over 100 candles prepaid by Kim Durkee never arrived after she fell ill during one of our conference calls and was rushed to the hospital. The man who promised to make her delivery never showed. It was one of our few let-downs, but we made up for it by using our i-phone lights. We were rewarded as the evening progressed when the Capitol itself lit up in a manner that looked like candles across its stately edifice. We promptly shifted our position to yield a very special photo of this grand 3-day affair.
At our rally on Friday afternoon, participants asked that I continue our Monday and Thursday Conference calls so that we can “capitalize” on our success here and grow the movement. Hopefully this time next year we will produce thousands in Marching numbers with meaningful reforms.
I would like all callers who came to our events to announce what they liked best about their experience. It might be something you observed of the viewers along our parade route or a special statement by one of our expert speakers at the Congressional Ballroom. We will close tomorrow’s call with ideas on where we go from here. It’s the same number and access code when prompted (605) 313-4165. Access code: 763491.
Glenn Svobota, our March Leader makes his presentation to the White House during our opening rally of the March at Lafayette Square Park with practice sessions regarding our parade chant in question-answer format
The March begins toward Pennsylvania Avenue
The Parent March on Washington heading down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol
Click on to this photo to see a procession of one of our Lobby groups headed to the offices of the Congressional Oversight Committee with our reports and demands for an investigation of family courts. We visited nearly every office of Congress during our Lobby Day, May 2nd.
Our New York contingent after a meeting in Senator Chuck Schumer’s conference room
Presentations at our Speakers Event in the Congressional Ballroom of the Holiday Inn Capitol Hotel and Conference Center on the evening before our March
On the evening of our first day of events, May 1, 2019, lobby groups prepare and distribute reports to be delivered to congressional offices the next day.
On May 1, 2019, we started our 3-day event with a”Meet and Greet’ at the 21st Century Lounge of the Holiday Inn Capitol. This hotel became our headquarters for all activity.