Today is my birthday, and normally I would take today off. But as you read this I am in the midst of getting our 2017 Jury Rights Calendars in the mail to our 2016 donors. If you are one of our loyal donors, I THANK YOU!
I love this work, but it’s been a tough couple of years in the national office. I am FIJA’s one full-time staff person, and I have less than the equivalent of a quarter-time staff person split between two very, very part-time staff, each working a few paid hours a month, to help me. This is FIJA’s entire staff responsible for handling everything from research to program development to communications to fundraising to social media to writing and publishing to answering the phones to fulfilling orders to press relations to traveling for events to handling legal affairs and so on. This is not sustainable as is, and I have so many projects that I would love FIJA to bring to fruition in the coming years.
With that in mind, let me share with you my birthday wish list. This one’s not for me, though. It’s for FIJA!
In 2017, we need your support to:
● travel to Denver to our trial in federal court in support of both jury rights and the free speech rights of our volunteer juror educators,
● publish educational ebooks to teach more people about their rights as jurors (The Founders’ Jury is already on the way in early 2017!),
● take advantage of the soundproofed room we now have access to by getting the studio set up with video and audio equipment to produce quality livestreaming and recorded media,
● begin producing online classes for which we’re already developing curricula (Jury Rights 101, a Jury Rights Master Class, and speaker training for those who wish to qualify for a FIJA speakers’ bureau),
● edit and format for our website a TON of great material from our summer fellows’ work that has been burning a hole in my hard drive,
● complete research for, and then write and publish a book on the evolving role of jury nullification throughout the Fugitive Slave Act trials prior to the Civil War,
● train volunteers and supply more materials for long-term campaigns at courthouses around the country, and
● plan and host a top notch FIJA conference in 2018!
These are just a few of the many things FIJA has been working on this year, and we need your generous donations to make them happen. We have been operating on a tiny budget (an annual income less than that of the average attorney), with me skipping paying myself one or two months of each of the last couple of years. We accept no government funding, and there are no overpaid executives with cushy benefits packages here! Any amount you can contribute makes a BIG DIFFERENCE to us.
I ordered plenty of calendars, and we will send this educational outreach tool to everyone who makes a donation in 2016. Additionally, our 2016 donors will be the FIRST to preview our inaugural ebook, The Founders’ Jury, as soon as it comes out in early 2017. You will also be getting one of the FIRST copies of our updated Your Jury Rights: True or False? brochure in 2017 as well. I’m really excited about that as it is being updated with an interactive twist!