Today was the big day – I would deliver the signed petitions to the clerk of the court.
My host, Mary Snyder, made eggs and toast for me for breakfast. We were ready right on time, and set off for the NYSEG Stadium, home of the Binghamton Mets. Mary had put her wheelchair in her car the day before to be all ready.
Eleven people from Albany drove down for the march and press conference. My husband, Dan Van Riper, drove Albany Common Council member Dominick Calsolaro. Others who came included Jeanne Finley, Albany County Legislator Doug Bullock, Barbara Murphy, Joe Lombardo, Russell Ziemba, Marwa Elbially, Fred Childs and of course, attorneys Kathy Manley and Steve Downs.
We all met at the NYSEG Stadium, and introduced the Binghamton people to the Albany people, and we all had a great time chatting.
Eventually, it was time to take the short walk to the Federal Building. It was decided to put me in a wheelchair. I found this quite embarrassing, but, the reality was, my blister made walking even short distances quite difficult.
Marwa filmed me. Jack Gilroy, who had walked the remainder of the 26 miles to Binghamton pushed me. The short walk to the Federal Building was quite pleasant.
When we arrived, even more people were there. Father Tim Taugher or St Francis of Assisi brought a podium which was a great addition.
We set up a banner behind the podium, and placed a photo of Yassin Aref in front of the podium. We were ready to go!
Steve Downs was the MC for the event. Kathy Manley spoke eloquently about the case, I spoke about the Journey for Justice, Dominick Calsolaro spoke about the Albany Resolution, Jack Gilroy gave a rousing speech about who the real criminals are, and Joe Lombardo of UNAC read a passionate statement about Yassin’s case.
Here is the to my written speech (which is longer than the speech I actually gave):
About forty people attended the press conference and rally. Even more people from Albany arrived, including Max and Susan who had joined me a few days ago. Best of all, Mrs. Hossain brought her three daughters and Yassin’s oldest daughter.
Here is a photo from the Binghamton Press:
Delivery of the Petitions
After the rally, it was time to go into the Federal Building. You would think we were entering Fort Knox, what with all the regulations. I asked the guard if this was indeed a public building, and he said yes, but regulated. To make a long story short (after much argument with the guard), only a few of us were allowed in to deliver the petition. Heaven forbid should 20 of us come into the building (the building is really big, and there seemed like plenty of room for all of us)! It seems that people are only allowed into the Federal Building if they have photo ID.
The guards finally decided that Mohammed’s seven-year-old daughter could be let in with no photo ID, as well as Yassin’s 17 year-old daughter. Five of us delivered the petitions – Jack Gilroy, Steve Downs, Alaa, Helema and me.
We went up to the court and the court clerk welcomed us with a big smile, took a look at the petitions and happily told us she would file them at the court.
We went back outside only to discover a lot of arguing between us, the public, and the guards at the Federal Building. When we all had first entered the building, Dan had taken a photo, and the flash of the camera went off. Seems the guard wanted that photo deleted (the guard told Dan one story about why he wanted the photo and me another story). Kathy was explaining to the guards why it was not illegal to take photos in a Federal Building according to a federal case.
When the security guard approached Dan to delete the photo, Dan gave the only American response when a security guard wants to take one’s possessions: “get a warrant.” And walked away.
As I came out of the Federal Building, I was surrounded by security guards asking that I get Dan to delete the photo. I argued with them for a long time, long enough for Dan to be many blocks away. This is America. This secrecy nonsense has to stop. The Federal Building is a public building. The people should be allowed to freely enter without having to produce ID, and people should be able to freely photograph what is our building.
Our task was done!
I had walked 82 miles, paddled 25 miles, and Jack Gilroy had walked the remaining 26 miles. The Journey for Justice was a complete success!
We delivered 1715 signatures to the court.
Hundreds, thousands, possibly many more people heard about the injustice done to Yassin Aref and Mohammed Hossain who otherwise never would have heard about this injustice.
I met dozens and dozens of people on this journey, all of who care about peace and justice. America is a beautiful country, with may people who care deeply about our constitution and what is fair and just. We just need to spread the word!
I hope that you will start your own Journey for Justice and continue the journey to peace and justice.
Read and see media reports of the Rally:
(I hope people will comment on this article, the first comment at this time says: “Lynne Jackson should be charged and thrown in jail….” which means I think I have struck a nerve!)
Thank you all everyone for all of your help and support!!!!