Monday, December 21, 2009

Time to Show Your Stuff, New Jersey!

(Jump direct to quick links: NJ members of Congress on Guantanamo.)

The Response was screened in New York City in fall, 2009. A major screening is scheduled for Columbia University School of Law for January 20, 2010. (For updates on specific time and venue, and associated events, see the Facebook event page.)

I'm planning to attend that screening. It will take be back to the place I grew up.

I spent the first 18 years of my life in New Jersey. And in September, 2001, I was back in New Jersey to visit my mom in Chatham.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I set out for Newark Airport to fly back to Chicago. I was on the Erie Lackawanna train heading to Newark when someone boarding the train said, "A commuter plane flew into the World Train Center."

As I rode south from the center of Newark toward Newark Airport, the World Trade Center loomed on the other side of the Hudson, trailing smoke. The rest of my memories of that day and week are surreal.

The community I grew up in, the church in which I attended Sunday School, the large number of my classmates who continue to live in New Jersey because (yes, it's true) it is such a beautiful place . . . everyone knew people who suffered on 9/11 and after 9/11 . . . .

Today, New Jersey plays a leading role in America's response to the post-9/11 world, including Guantanamo. Congressman Rush Holt (D, 12th) chairs the Select Intelligence Oversight Panel (SIOP) of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The panel helps write the budget for and provides oversight of the U.S. intelligence community. His website says he "believes that America’s detainee treatment laws must provide a clear set of guidelines consistent with American principles - such as in the revised Army Field Manual - apply to all U.S. Government personnel (including contractors and intelligence agents) on how to treat prisoners in ways that preserve our principles. He supports President Obama’s Executive Order in January 2009 to close Guantanamo within a year and end torture of detainees." (more by Congressman Holt on Guantanamo)

Congressman Holt has stepped up to the challenge. Other New Jersey congressmen need to do more. Other than a NIMBY ("not in my backyard") letter to President Obama signed by five NJ congressmen (Lobiondo, Smith, Garrett, Lance, and Frelinghuysen -- "The federal prison system in New Jersey is already severely understaffed and underfunded . . . .") there has been precious little activism by New Jersey congressmen on the Guantanamo issue.

Contact your representative and urge them to attend the Columbia University screening on January 20 in New York City.

Information on how to contact your representative, and on their Guantanamo positions, is shown below.

(Don't know who your representative is? Look him/her up by zip code here.)

(Don't know how what to say? Suggestions for getting started here.)

Adler, John H. D3rdContact
Andrews, Robert E. D1stContact
Frelinghuysen, Rodney P. R11thContactOn Gitmoabove
Garrett, Scott R5thContactOn Gitmoabove
Holt, Rush D. D12thContactOn Gitmoabove
Lance, Leonard R7thContactOn Gitmoabove
LoBiondo, Frank A. R2ndContactOn Gitmoabove
Pallone, Frank Jr.D6thContact
Pascrell, Bill Jr.D8thContactOn Gitmoabove
Payne, Donald M. D10thContact
Rothman, Steven R. D9thContact
Sires, Albio D13thContact
Smith, Christopher H. R4thContactOn Gitmoabove

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