Chicago “Shared Parenting” Rally Shows Diversity

April 11, 2010

Saturday’s shared parenting rally in front of the State of Illinois building in the heart of downtown Chicago raised awareness as to how many people are tragically affected by antiquated and misguided family court laws and procedures.

The protest focused mainly on the inequities faced by non-custodial parents within the family court system.

About three dozen protesters from various organizations united for three hours where the Illinois Family Law Study Committee was holding a hearing on family law issues. Committee members had no choice but to walk through the various protesters gathered outside the entrance to the state’s building and hear the concerns and frustrations of many as they arrived for their meeting.

The most revealing aspect of the rally was displayed by those who attended.  Not only was there a diversity of various organizations, but more stunning was the diversity of the attendees. The rally involved participation by these advocacy groups:

Illinois Fathers

Sisters in Solidarity

Children’s Rights Council – Illinois  

Parental Alienation Awareness Organization

Fathers Who Care


Fathers – Families in Transition

Fathers 4 Justice

Laps for Love

National Coalition For Men

Indiana Custodial Rights Advocates

Wisconsin Fathers

But again, even more telling was the diversity of those in attendance. The majority of the protesters were men, but women nearly equaled the men in numbers. And the racial breakdown included whites, African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asians.  The protesters also included a mix of white-collar workers and blue-collar ones, stay-at- home moms and dads, and the disabled. The rally clearly showed how the current family court system and its misguided laws are tragically affecting parents and families from all walks of life. 

Shortly after the Illinois Family Law Study Committee meeting began inside, speakers on the sidewalk outside from the various organizations told of horror stories involving the current family court system; from those they have personally been a part of, or those they have come across during their advocacy work. At the conclusion, General Parker, a member of  Illinois Fathers, read a letter that was to be delivered to the Illinois Family Law Study Committee’s chairman expressing the concerns and issues that urgently need to be addressed and/or changed – many of which painfully damage children, parents, and families rather than help them. The letter was then given to an organization member. He entered the building to deliver the letter to the chairman, but that was as far as he got. Sadly, the committee chairman refused to accept the letter.

However, this setback only seemed to intensify the resolve of the participants, as networking among the organizations dominated, and many ideas were exchanges.

One was left with the feeling that bigger, more organized rallies can be expected in the near future.

(Note: The Chicago Police need to be commended on their professionalism during the protest. My understanding is that there was no permit issued for the rally, so the Chicago Police were not notified. However, when they arrived, they laid down some ground rules for the rally and allowed it to continue without interruption. They also mixed with the crowd, heard the issues at hand, and shared their own personal stories that corroborated and resonated with the protest. A big thank you to the members of the Chicago Police Department.


General Parker from Illinois Fathers

Michael Doherty of The Children's Rights Council of Illinois

Tim Goldich, President of NCFM Chicago and General Parker

Carrie Adams of

Advocate tries to deliver letter of concern to chairman

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4 Responses to Chicago “Shared Parenting” Rally Shows Diversity

  1. Ian Mitchell on April 11, 2010 at 3:36 am

    A few modifications from the above. The Chicago PD was notified prior to the event and no permit was required. We we did follow proper procedure before hand, and that probably went a long way to helping make it a success on that front. The committee did receive a copy of our letter and it was a heavy topic under discussion through out the meeting. So we are very hopeful that our recommendations will be seriously considered. The diversity of the participants was very noticeable. And it shows several things. First, Family Law affects more than just men or dads, it affects everyone. Second, through cohesive involvement of the various different groups out there, we can have an impact.

    Hats off to everyone who participated!

  2. Richard Thomas on April 12, 2010 at 1:29 am

    The fight for shared parenting post-divorce and gender equality in the family court system is the greatest civil rights movement in the 21st century…Great protest on Saturday! When is the next one??? Richard Thomas, Dwight, Illinois.

  3. Robert Ferrer on April 12, 2010 at 8:18 am

    Dear Group:

    Having been in attendance at the meeting — I must say that the message you articulated is resonating with Committee members. Under the skillful direction of ACFC's Mike McCormick —- he made the Committee understand the importance of visitation guidelines — with a min. 35% time under most circumstances. They are seriously considering it.

    Kudos to Mike for his diligence(even though he is an outside agitator 🙂 )

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