Photos from my Journey

I have uploaded some photos I took on the Journey for Justice.  Please let me know if you can see them!  Here is the link:

https://www.dropbox.com/sc/2gnijw2qvav967q/5T6hINRFhj

Also, the Journey for Justice made the headlines for Democracy Now! this morning.  I am so excited that Democracy Now! reported on the delivery of the petitions.  Here is the link:http://www.democracynow.org/2013/7/29/headlines

The headline starts at exactly 15:00.

Lynne Jackson

August 4, 2013 at 7:15 PM

I had the honor of meeting Elliot Adams and his wife Ann, on the Journey for Justice.

I heard Elliot speak at the Peacemakers of Schoharie Valley.  His description of the torture of the men in Guantanamo is stomach churning.  How can we, as Americans, allow this to happen?

Elliot has been fasting in solidarity with the men in Guantanamo.  The plight of these men is horrific.  Can you imagine being kept without charge, without trial for more than 11 years, with no hope of being relesased?  With no way to communicate with loved ones? Without having seen one’s family in all those years?

The most basic right in our constitution is the right to a fair trial and face one’s accusers.  Holding men with no charge or trial is illegal and against the constitution. It is un-American.

I hope that people will come on Sunday, August 4 at 7:15 PM when Elliot and Tarak Kauff will end their fasts. Meet at 280 Central Avenue, Albany, NY

For the full description, see:
http://projectsalam.org/events/08-04-13.html

 

Lynne Jackson

Journey for Justice Update

I am glad to be home.  Just a little update on how I am – my blister is healing, I expect to be back to going on long walks soon.  I miss walking in the early morning.  There is nothing quite like walking shortly after dawn in the quiet.

For the first time since the near drowning incident at Sidney (see: https://projectsalam.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/day-8/), I looked very closely at by wonderful little canoe.  The boat was crushed in the incident, and when my husband, Dan Van Riper freed it from the strainer, and Dan managed to push it back into shape.  There are  a lot of horizontal cracks in the boat.

Boat

In this photo, you cannot see the cracks, but, they are there!  The seat is loose, and the front piece at the bow is missing.

boat cracks

Here is an close-up of some of the cracks.

Dan and I took my little Hornbeck canoe back to Hornbeck boats today to see if it can be repaired.  I was pleasantly surprised when Chad, at Hornbeck boats, said that yes, the boat can be repaired.  It may take a while, but, yes the boat can be fixed.  It won’t look like new (Dan says it will  now have “street cred”), and the cracks will still be visible on the outside,  but it will work just fine.

The boat weighed 12 pounds when I bought it.  I expect it will gain a few pounds during the repair.  But, that is OK.  It will still be an extremely lightweight canoe which I will be able to easily carry around.

While at Hornbeck’s, we bought me a new, lightweight paddle and a new life vest.

I cannot emphasize enough how important wearing a life vest is.  People say to me “oh, I can swim.”  A life vest has nothing to do with swimming.  The only purpose of a life vest is when a paddler is tossed out of her boat, that the life vest will bring her head out of the water so that she can be rescued.  The ability to swim has nothing to do with this.  I was tossed from my boat in less than a second. I had no time to grab anything – let alone grab a life vest and put it on.  Fortunately, I always wear a life vest.  My life vest got my head above water, which allowed me stand in the water and cling to a branch so I was not dragged away by the current.

This gave Dan enough time to rescue me from the raging Susquahanna river current. Though I was only a few feet from the shore, the current was so strong, I could not get out of the river.  Dan held out his paddle to me, and I clung to the paddle as Dan pulled me through the raging current to the shore.

So, please, if you go paddling, please, please wear a life vest!

Journey for Justice Notes

I am disappointed that I could not walk the last 26 miles.  I look at my stupid blister (yes, I did take a photo because Steve Downs asked me to – but yuck, but, really NO ONE wants to see it, Steve!) and even how much it has healed so far, I realize, I still can’t go walking long distances yet.
But, in the end, my walking was no longer important.  What was important was the people we met and the relationships and community we built.  I want to keep in contact with all the wonderful people I met along the way.  And, I need to write more about my adventures and what it is like to walk a really long distance  in our car-oriented society today.  Our country was built by people walking long distances – I think it is interesting how doing it today is such a big news story.
Our justice system may be broken.  Our rights may be gone.  But, Americans are really good people and I met a lot of them on my trip.  Not one person said anything negative to any of us walking.  Not one. People were just so nice to us.  Perhaps this is my Universalism coming out, but, I do believe that people, if given the choice, will do the right thing and that people are basically good and decent.  And people do want justice for everyone.
I had so much support from so many people.  I thank you all for your interest, support and help! And, most of all, I hope for good things for Yassin Aref.
– Lynne Jackson

Media Coverage & Coming Home

Channel 13, WNYT did a great piece last night on my coming home from the Journey for Justice.  Watch it here:

The Altamont Enterprise published photos of our first day walking.  At Stewart’s in Guilderland, I had run into Jerry Hauser (who I had not seen in years) and he noticed that Melissa Hale Spenser, editor of the Altamont Enterprise, was just driving up (see: https://projectsalam.wordpress.com/page/2/).

Melissa was out taking photos for another story, when she spotted us.  The photos are published here:

http://www.altamontenterprise.com/index.php/news/guilderland/797-journey-for-justice

Best of all, the Altamont Enterprise published and editorial about Yassin Aref.  In the print version (I highly recommend subscribing, at $29 a year, it is the best bargain!), the editorial is accompanied by a startling drawing – me walking, Yassin in an hour-glass prison with the sands running out, and the women and children walking. A very moving drawing.

http://www.altamontenterprise.com/index.php/opinion/editorial/798-the-road-to-justice-is-paved-with-truth

My friend from Chicago, Barbara Lyons, emailed me that she got a blister at a protest.  Public protest is something we should all engage in, but, I do not want people to get blisters!  To encourage more people in peaceful public protest, this is what I learned about preventing blisters:

  • Wear two pairs of socks.  This way, the socks rub against each other and not against your foot
  • If you think you are going to get a blister or have one, use moleskin to protect it.  Bandaids don’t work.  Moleskin is amazing stuff.  Even the ER doctor recommended moleskin.  So, have a package at the ready.  You can cut the moleskin to the right size, and moleskin is stretchy and can be formed around the curved parts of the foot.
  • If possible, don’t lance the blister.  The outer skin will protect the blister while the fluid in it is reabsorbed.
  • Baby your feet.  Wear comfortable shoes.  If your feet hurt, its difficult to go to protests!

By the way, Barbara was protesting the wrongful incarceration of Gregory Koger.  I met Gregory in Chicago, and he is a wonderful, amazing activist.  He was sent to jail yesterday for videotaping (his case is outrageous, a travesty of justice).  Please sign his petition at: https://www.change.org/petitions/tom-dart-cook-county-sheriff-release-gregory-koger-on-electronic-monitoring#

I am glad to be home!  The weather yesterday and today has been perfect walking weather, unlike the stifling heat I experienced.  I am glad we went paddling on the Susquahanna and I am even more glad my husband, Dan Van Riper rescued me from the river.  And, I am very glad we delivered the petitions to the judge!

Journey for Justice – We Deliver the Petitions

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.

The March

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.

The Rally

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):

Here is Jack Gilroy’s rousing speech on war criminals:

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:

Judge McAvoy 07-13

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:

http://www.pressconnects.com/article/20130723/NEWS01/307230054/Woman-ends-133-mile-walk-Binghamton-advocating-new-trials-mosque-leaders?nclick_check=1

(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!)

http://www.newschannel34.com/news/local/story/Jailed-Imam-Petitions/UAm8LwARP0y2GseWg8yVuw.cspx?autoplay=1

Day 10

Today was perhaps the most arduous day afterall!  I know people in Albany and who have been following this blog are very concerned about me.  Well!  They should be after the day I had!  I just want everyone to know how I have been roughing it for justice!

I woke up this morning in a soft bed at Mike Bernhard and Mary Jo Long’s house by the bright rising sun shining in the window.   The rooster was crowing and the birds were singing – I found the sounds to be so incredibly relaxing.

Mike asked me if the breakfast they made each morning would be OK with me – pancakes, home made maple syrup, bacon from a pig they grew on their farm and fresh picked blueberries.  I was told – breakfast in 20 minutes.  I made sure not to be late!  Breakfast was served outside in the sunshine and the garden surrounding their house.

The homemade pancakes and bacon were delicious and the conversation stimulating.  I did not want to leave!  Jimmy, their very well behaved dog, was thrilled I could not eat my last half-pancake.  I put my plate down for him, and he first carefully licked off the maple syrup before slurping up the pancake.

Gary Doupe picked me up.  He was the driver for the day.  Since I cannot walk at the moment because of my foot, Jack Gilroy walked for me, carrying the petitions.  Last night, I had left my precious petitions with Jack.  The petitions were still damp from Saturday’s adventure, so we had spread them out in Jack’s basement to thoroughly dry them.

Gary drives a Chevy Volt, which is a plug-in electric car.  We drove through beautiful farmland in the bright sunshine in this quiet, air conditioned car.  We needed to catch up with Jack to see if he needed anything.

Walking into cities is quite tricky because the roads are made for cars, not people. My husband, Dan Van Riper and I had made two trips to Binghamton (by car, of course) to look at what the best route would be to walk into Binghamton.  The challenge is that Route 7 turns into Interstate 88.  It is extremely dangerous (and illegal) to walk on I-88, so another route was needed.

I choose this route: Route 7 to Route 7b, a left on Nowlan Road and then left onto Chenango Street which would bring the walkers all the way into Binghamton.  I was concerned, because Nowlan Road had no shoulders and the edge of the road was crumbling in places.  The road had many curves, and bad sight lines.  Not a great place to walk safely.

By the time we caught up with Jack, he was halfway through Nowlan Road – no problem at all for him.  Jack had started at 6:30 and was more than one third the way through the walk when we found him.

Gary and I stopped to buy water.  But, Jack (unlike me), was a walker with few needs and all we needed to give him was a bottle of  water.

I was concerned about bandaging my foot.  I had used the last bandage the Emergency Room nurse gave me last night, and needed to find more non-adhesive bandages before tonight.  I mentioned to Gary I needed these special bandages, and he pointed out a CVS across the street.  It took me two minutes to find everything I needed to take care of my foot and we were off again.  Jim Clune caught up with Jack and now we had two walkers.

Jim Ehmke from Channel 34 was scheduled to interview us.  We met him and I think he did a fantastic interview.

Binghamton local News Inteview

Watch full Binghamton interview below:


http://www.newschannel34.com/news/local/story/Walk-to-Support-Jailed-Imam/4n-WZyjAWESsFp93sMUYRQ.cspx?autoplay=1

By the time we jumped back in the car, we barely had enough time to drive to the NYSEG Stadium (Binghamton Mets) before Jack and Jim arrived. Our walk today ends and begins again tomorrow at this stadium.  It was 11:30 AM, and we were done with walking already!

Now there were four of us – Jack, Jim, Gary and me.  We went to the Clune’s home to determine our next steps.  We had petitions to count and copies to make.

The more arduous part of the day was yet to come. From the Clune house, we decided to go to the Lost Dog restaurant.  Now we were six – Ann Clune joined us and later came George Homanich.  We ate delicious food, some of us had wine or  beer and we all decided after the meal that dessert seemed like an excellent idea.  Such hardships I endure for justice!

After lunch, Jack contacted the priest at St. Francis of Assisi to use their copier and printer.  Jack and Gary counted the petitions in about 2 minutes (1507 electronic and hand-written combined).  I printed out a new set of electronic petitions as these were the most water damaged.  Many of the signatures were unreadable, thus a new copy was needed.

After the counting, Gary took Jack back to his car.

I wrote a letter to the Judge to accompany the signatures.  Dolores, the secretary, very carefully copied all the hand-signed petitions one-by-one.  She was so kind and helpful.

I organized all the papers and Jim picked me up at about 4:45 and drove me to Mary Snyder’s house.  When I arrived, Mary assured me that the wheelchair is in her car and ready for my use tomorrow. Since arriving, she had given me good conversation, iced tea, dinner and a couple glasses of wine.  Tonight will be the first night in a long time that I am going to bed before midnight!

I just thought everyone would want to know how difficult this trip has been for me (see the hardships above).  A day like today makes me want to take a walk across the country, if I am treated this way each day!

I want to thank everyone – I have had so much help and assistance.  I appreciate it very much.  I look forward to seeing everyone in Binghamton tomorrow, July 23 at 10:15 in the morning at the NYSEG Stadium for a march to the Federal Building at 15 Henry Street.

Lynne Jackson

These photos Gary Doupe took with my iPod

1

Jack signes the petition

11

Jim Clune, me, Jack Gilroy

3

Jack Gilroy, walker for the day

10

Waving!

9

Me

5

Talking to Jim Ehmke (white shirt)

12

Gary Doupe and Jack Gilroy counting the signatures

13

Papers sorted

14

The petitions and my letter to the judge

2

Me

Day 9

Today started bright and early at Gary Doupe’s (rhymes with “top”) house.  He lives in a very old house which has been in his family for generations.  After he retired, he told me he renovated it.

Fred Childs also stayed at Gary’s.  Around 8:00, Jack Gilroy from Binghamton and Mike Bernhard from Afton arrived.
The blister on my foot has made walking any distance impossible.  I assume that in a week or two, my blister will just be a memory – but today, there is no way I can walk any distance.  The Journey for Justice will continue – others have stepped up to complete the Journey.
Jack Gilroy from Johnson City (outside of Binghamton) volunteered to walk for me and to carry the petitions.  Jack is a committed peace activist who practices his beliefs.  He once spent six months in federal prison after being arrested protesting the School of the Americas.  He said that he experienced “diesel therapy” – being moved around from prison to prison.  At first, he was kept locked up 24 hours a day and how difficult that is, not seeing the sun or feeling a breeze.  I wish I had had a chance to hear more about his prison experience.  We need to know what goes on in US federal prisons.  I think we as a country would be embarrassed.
Fred is an experience long-distance hiker.  He firmly believes in leaving his car at the destination of his hike – more encouragement to complete the entire distance.  So, Mike and Fred drove to Tunnel Road and Beldon Court to drop Fred’s car.  Jack and I drove to the Afton boat launch, and Jack started off at a quick pace.
Eventually, after dropping off Fred’s car, Mike and Fred picked me up at the boat launch.  We caught up with Jack and dropped Fred off to walk.
Mike was a great companion for the day.  He is involved in the anti-fracking movement.  I learned more about fracking,  We should not be polluting our land like this.  Our job today as drivers was very easy – Jack and Fred did not need a lot.  The weather was gorgeous – a touch warm, but no where near the searing heat of earlier in the walk.
Mike and I talked about lots of things and I learned Mike was a carpenter and now a furniture maker.  He built the house he and his wife, Mary Jo Long, now live.  By building the house, Mike means he logged the trees and built the house.
As it warmed up outside, I asked Mike if he could turn the fans on in his car. so he did.  A little while later, the walkers came by, we asked if they needed anything, they said no, and continued walking.  As the walkers walked away, and we wanted to drive the car another mile or so ahead. Mike discovered the car would not start – we had run down the battery running the fans.  We shouted to the walkers to come back, but, they were off at such a clip, that Fred and Jack did not hear us.  So, I called Fred on his cell phone to ask him to come back.
Mike had the perfect solution, he took out his jumper cables, stood by the edge of the road and waived the jumper cables in the air at a passing car.  The young man driving the car stopped, turned around and parked facing Mike’s car.  Mike had the cables connected in a second, and with in less than a minute, the car started – before Fred and Jack arrived, the car was running again – less than three minutes from having the problem!
The remainder of the walk was uneventful.  We brought ice cream and water to the walkers.  Fred and Jack made the entire 13 miles in about six hours – very impressive.
At this point, Fred drove back to Albany for a dinner party, and Mike drove Jack and I to Jack’s car.  As I had a presentation in Johnson City at a mosque that night, Jack and I drove into Johnson City.
This is where I learned more about Jack’s work and his stay in federal prison.  We drove to his house, I worked on some emails, took a shower and changed.
I mentioned to Jack that I was hoping someone would serve me speedies.  Now, if you have never lived in the Binghamton area, you have no idea what a speedie is.  When I was little, we used to go to Augie’s in Endicott, and Italian restaurant.  Augie served marinated meat which was cooked on a metal skewer over a grill.  One eats a speedie by pulling the meat off the skewer with soft Italian bread.  Delicious.  But, no one outside of Binghamton has ever heard of them!
Jack and his wife gave me dinner and I was delighted to discover they went out and bought speedies for me!  I am truly on the luxury tour, with so many caring people.
Jim Clune came over to pick up up.  He drove me to the Al-Nur mosque in Johnson City.  I was so pleased to speak for 5 minutes after Iftar dinner.  Many people signed the petition for Yassin.
I also met George and Judy Homanich who have been attending part of the Bradley Manning trial, among other work.
Mike and Mary Jo came to pick me up. A very long day!
Tomorrow, Jack will carry the petitions into Binghamton.
Though I am not able to walk, Jack has stepped in.  As my friend Lucy put it so well – it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community to deliver petitions to a judge!