08 October 2012
One of the more positive aspects of the internet is its ability to connect people and today I'd like to introduce you all to someone I've known for years but have never met before: Robin from AngelGroup. I interviewed Robin for this article so she can tell you in her own words what she and AngelGroup are all about. So first question:
What's AngelGroup all about?
AngelGroup is a resource for court clients; mostly in Hawaii but its message is universal. People entering the courts have rights and they are to be treated in a very specific way, as is their case. Most people are unaware of what's supposed to happen and when things go sideways they're left wondering why.
AngelGroup exists to educate about the process, provide information and human resources for the various processes before, during and after someone's interaction with the court system. We also act as a watchdog for abuses in the court system and the community at large.
What inspired you to create AngelGroup?
AngelGroup was inspired by my involvement in a case on Maui. I couldn't believe what was happening, literally, but it kept happening and forced me to look closer at the judiciary, attorneys, para-professionals, etc. This was especially true in cases involving Domestic Violence.
Survivors of DV were being re-victimized in the courts, at the very hands of the people put in place to protect them! This was a harder pill to swallow but the evidence is undeniable. After I learned it wasn't isolated to Maui, I learned it wasn't isolated to Hawaii either. It's a nationwide epidemic that has its roots in the highest levels of government.
Family Court is a 'cash cow'. Highly contested cases are especially lucrative. Should a court separate a protective parent from their child, it's a given that the parent will fight until their last breath or dollar. If one can wrap their head around this, it's easy to see why our "government" shows little incentive towards correcting this nationwide epidemic. This greed is everywhere. The Family Court's indiscretion is even more tragic though because it's disguised behind a black cloak of "good" and "fair".
Why the name "AngelGroup"? Why not something like "Justice Warriors" or "Accountability For All"?
AngelGroup was named without a religious affiliation but rather a spiritual hope of having an Angel looking out for you. The comfort of knowing "You're not alone" is a lifeline for people suffering injustice and harm at the hands of the court. They're trapped in a closed and locked system that has control of what they do and say for the duration of the case. In Family Court cases, the effects are felt for years afterwards; sometimes a lifetime.
Posting what you do must get feedback from viewers; what kind of comments have you gotten, examples of both good and bad?
Comments we've received have ranged from "You saved my life" to strong words originating from people deep within the "system" that want to discredit or discourage any comment that brings "sunshine" to the seedy underbelly of the court system. As a whole though, comments have been favorable and supportive. AngelGroup is in a unique position because we can bring attention to things that others cannot. Armed with the facts, we can speak the unspeakable.
The most interesting 'feedback' I think we've received is deafening silence. We've been amazed that the local news hasn't picked up on the injustices happening in the Family Courts, despite the fact that it's getting traction in the mainstream media. One major newspaper on Maui slammed the door on a court client and said, "We don't do stories on judges here." Even the "independent" press doesn't follow through in reporting the hard news. It appears the judiciary has deep pockets or they throw a good Hawaiian BBQ a few times a year...Shameful.
Why is this issue important to you?
Initially it wasn't. I had no idea what was happening and I was naive enough to believe the Family Courts were "fair". I'm all over that now. I've seen the faces of too many children given to their abusers. I've seen the State become the abuser. I've seen judges intentionally harm people and these people suffer the consequences long after they extract themselves from the immediacy of the court system. There are just some things that one cannot turn away from after they've seen it first hand. The other Angels feel the same way.
My column at Examiner.com is on the subject of Domestic Violence & Abuse - is there anything you'd like to say or share with my readers?
That's a 'deep and wide river' of a subject. The most obvious thing to say is PLEASE HELP STOP DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. Right now, nationwide, court clients and survivors of DV are being re-victimized through the Family Court. States receive millions and billions of dollars from the federal government (that's YOUR hard-earned tax dollars!) if they keep their statistics in step with the conditions of the federal grants. Monetary choices are being made under the guise of "best interests of the child" and Family Court clients are being stripped of all their assets under color of law. This is criminal abuse as well.
Whether the reader is a victim of DV or not, the fact remains that they, their friends or their family members, will at some point be touched by the Family Court. It makes sense to raise awareness now because the "wheels of justice turn slowly". At some point "We the People" need to get off the fence and handle our business.
How do you propose that "We the People" start in raising awareness about all this?
Simply talk about it, write a letter, call your legislators or local paper and ask them to look at this subject. There is a reason controversial information is knowingly kept in the shadows. The people who pocket the checks know that 5% of the People can turn the tide if they take action. Every reader is the "potential" for change. Once this is realized, lives will be different.
How does someone reach you?
AngelGroup is located on the web at http://angelgroup.org/ One of the options at the top right of the home page screen is a Contact option; click on that and while you're there, feel free to sign-up for our newsletter.