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Tag: free speech

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One Voice - A Writer Sparks Revolution

The protesters that began the expansive "Occupy Wall Street " movement are examples of the power of One Voice. They are not alone in the history of uprisings that have changed the course of history.

In my case,  a terrifying experience in a haunted house on an island outside Montreal  segued with injustice in the chambers of a private judge in the family court system. At the time, I felt I had no voice. So, I began to write the story of a world-weary American woman's story of transformation and empowerment in the French Canadian underground.

I wrote the following piece to remind myself that one must be brave and speak the truth for the good of the world.

                                                                                                                                                                         One Voice

     A man sat at an ornate  desk and gazed at a blank  parchment. On the paper he had agreed to write  a proclamation, a fiery statement that would be delivered to the King and all of his courtiers and officers. it was a document that  would irrevocably alter his life.

     He  realized he was jeopardizing everything he owned and held sacred. The lovely estate he had designed himself  and furnished with artifacts from around the world, the gardens he had tended and nurtured would be confiscated.  His servants would be out of jobs - employment they needed to survive. His cherished family would lose their comforts, and his wife would be reduced to working in the households of the nobles, if they would  take her at all. The prospects of his children be would horribly altered. His daughters' marital opportunities would be diminished and his sons' opportunities limited to those of farmer or laborer, rather than gentleman.

     Even worse, he understood if he wrote and signed the proclamation he would  likely be hung by the neck in the gallows. He would be publicly humiliated in front of his wife and children and all of the community that  looked up to him as a man of high position. Once he finished putting ink to the parchment his life as he knew it was over.

     Five men waited for the document - the well positioned men had chosen him to create the first draft. He had only written a few words, then just a few paragraphs, when he was compelled to stop. He was aghast at his own vehemence - he had called the King a tyrant! Surely the others would think him mad for using such an explosive word.

     Then, like one possessed, his pen began to scratch at the parchment, his hand desperately seeking to keep up with the words raging from his mind. Once he had written of the horrible deeds of the King against his countrymen, the lost lives and futures, insults to dignity and honour, crimes against his comrades, his brethren - there was no turning back. He completed the deed and signed the document with relish.

     The man gently picked up the parchment, still wet with the black ink from the crystal ink holder given to him as a present from his beloved father, and walked from the sun drenched room. His carriage waited outside, and within the hour he delivered the document to the five illustrious men. To his surprise, they did not attempt to edit his words, instead they reinforced them by signing their names. Then, it was delivered to the Commission, where each added their name to the list.  His voice became stronger as each signed the document, and it soon became a throng of cries from citizens who had been mistreated for too long.

     The voice of the man at the desk has never stopped speaking. His voice caused the downfall of a government. His voice helped to create a new constitution based on its precepts. His voice has resonated through three centuries, and continues to speak throughout the world. One man's proclamation is now viewed by most of mankind as  Divine Right - the Divine Right of the Individual for Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It marks the birth of democracy.

     The man was Thomas Jefferson and his proclamation -  The Declaration of Independence.

                                                                                      xxxx

     May we all be bold and brave in standing up for our God given rights -  and those of our  comrades.

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Give The Gift of Immortality To A Loved One This Christmas

Christmases come and go, and we rarely remember what we received the previous your, although at the time each gift seemed very important. This year you will have the opportunity to give a gift to a loved one that will last forever.  The Gift?  Their name featured in a published novel.

The First Amendment Project has come up with the unique idea of auctioning the opportunity to have your name, or the name of a friend or loved one, immortalized in a soon to be completed novel.

The auction is a benefit for First Amendment Project, the Oakland, CA-based nonprofit organization that provides free legal services on public interest free speech and free press issues.

In addition to the character name, the winning bidder in the “Weeds” auction will receive a signed copy of the pilot script, the box set of DVDs of the first five seasons of the series and a “Weeds” baseball cap. Among the other opportunities available at the auction, which can be found at http://3.ly/fapauction include the chance to be an FBI agent or a stripper with a heart of gold in the next entry in Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series; a villain or a victim in Thomas Perry’s next entry in the Jane Whitefield series, a wounded World War I soldier or drunken Bohemian in Andrew Sean Greer’s next novel, as a character in a new musical by Janet Burroway, or a character in a cartoon series by Ben Katchor, Chris Ware or T Campbell. Young adult authors Dan Gutman and Kevin J. Anderson are offering character names in the next entries in their Baseball Card Adventures and Star Challengers series, respectively.

I have offered the opportunity to run away and join the circus in my new novel "The Chamber of Curiosities". The love story between a freak show giant and a beautiful young trapeze artist is set in a deserted bastion overlooking a seaport in a mysterious land. The winner bidder will not only have a character named after them, they will be alllowed to determine personal details and relationship to other characters.
This is the third character name auction for First Amendment Project. The first two auctions, held in 2005 and 2006, earned over $170,000 for the organization.