Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Superhero Daddy Activist Endures Extreme Weather

The following case has similar characteristics to my own. My heart is with you Don. I know exactly how you feel. For those wondering why the purple facial hair - think Barney - think F4J and look at my colour scheme. MJM

Teri Stoddard

Superhero Daddy Activist Endures Extreme Weather
donald tenn

Donald Tenn is a California father who says he “had to take action” for his young daughter Madison. He started his fourth day this morning on a wet construction crane in Columbus Ohio alone. Last night police warned of thunderstorms. John Fowler, national coordinator for Fathers 4 Justice was able to talk activist father Paul Fisher down.

Tenn refused. “I have nothing to lose”, he said through a walkie-talkie. Earlier he told me, “I’ve followed the law, been bounced back and forth between states, and been falsely accused of domestic violence. I finally won visitation in Illinois. The judge even reprimanded her mother. I had one visit. That’s it. She’s able to use services funded by the Violence Against Women Act to illegally keep me from my daughter.”

Until Madison’s mother illegally abducted her to Illinois, Tenn was her stay-at-home parent. It’s Madison he worries about, not himself. He says she’s being hurt by the family court system and he has to protect her. A member of Fathers 4 Justice, the gender-neutral civil rights group fighting for equal parental rights, he says he won’t come down until Governor Schwarzenegger agrees to a nonpartisan investigation into the family court system. Calls to the Governor’s office have yet to be returned.

Tenn’s Sacramento phone rings off the hook at all hours of the day. Friends say he always makes time to listen to parents trying to avoid or recover from the devastation of losing contact with their children. When he isn’t grieving for his own little girl Madison, he says, his heart aches for the thousands of other parents he knows who are experiencing the same thing.

Tenn has been sending Madison packages in the mail about 3 times a week. “I’ve probably sent over 300 packages so far,” he told me recently, “they include books, healthy snacks, small toys and stickers. She loves stickers”

When asked if he wants to keep Madison away from her mother when this is resolved, he says, “no.” “I’ve always wanted equal custody, equal parenting and equal responsibility, for each of us.” Asked if his case was unique he replied,”I’ve traveled the country talking to other parents. And what I hear all the time, from mothers and fathers, is that they want equal parental rights, equal physical and legal custody.”


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The work of Fathers 4 Justice and the Pain of Fathers ~ Activism in the UK

Equal and Shared Parenting ~ The Movie