Just six months ago, when AAWA first went public, our primary focus was on structuring an organization that would educate the non-Jehovah’s Witness world community about how the Watch Tower Society abuses the human rights of many of its members. In particular we wanted to focus on the effects on the children of members and ex-members. Now it is time for AAWA and its scores of active volunteers to expand our reach and increase our effectiveness.
Our Action Plan
Within the past six months we have made our presence known, developed excellent relationships with other like-minded organizations, and provided support and friendship to those seeking help for themselves or those they love. While proud of our accomplishments, we feel that we still have much more to do and can do it better. That is why the next six months will be important as we direct and expand our focus toward other effective strategies that include:
- Maintaining a dynamic AAWA.co website: We plan to post new stories, videos and related information every two to three days. Visitors to our site should find it easier to access our videos, article archives and helpful information about harmful Watchtower policies.
- Developing and updating a database of influential non-JW associations: These would include groups and individuals interested in knowing more about the Watchtower’s harmful policies who might also be willing to support AAWA initiatives.This database would include both church and non-religious organizations, Meetup groups, active bloggers, YouTube “heavy hitters,” health professionals, TV stations, newspapers and reporters.
- Actively search for law firms interested in using the courts and other legal methods to make the Watchtower accountable for its policies on child molestation.
- Draft and publish op-ed pieces directed to newspapers, magazines and independent blogs.
- Produce and continually promote effective videos and fliers directed to the non-JW world.
- Work with major universities on research projects that will provide data on the damaging impact of five of the Watchtower’s policies and related mind-control techniques. For this strategy to succeed we will need volunteers who have grant writing experience.
- Advertise for volunteers with specific skills that will help achieve AAWA’s mission.
- Take AAWA’s message to caring church groups that have reputations for being champions for social justice.
- Direct special AAWA press releases to the media in all cities around the world where JW assemblies are scheduled.
- Publish a monthly AAWAke! newsletter.
To implement these strategies, we will need more volunteers who understand the importance of management systems and are also good communicators. Some of the skill sets we will need are assistant editors for our website; database scouts and data entry; competent writers; graphic designers; translators; effective speakers who can talk to the press, church groups and other associations; and experienced and equipped videographers. We’ll also be looking for volunteers who have the special skills and fortitude to be team leaders to effectively manage at least one of our strategies.
Reinforcing Our Mission Objectives
We would also like to remind everyone that:
- AAWA’s mission is to educate the non-JW world community about harmful policies for which the Watchtower is not currently held accountable. These policies result in a high incidence of child sexual abuse, domestic violence, emotional damage due to extreme shunning of family members, needless deaths due to the banning of certain blood treatments and loss of personal growth and potential by demonizing higher education. (The Watchtower has been successful at cultivating an image of earnest ascetic religious devotion, when the reality is that it has a sinister side.)
- AAWA will provide a safe community and a listening ear for people who decide they no longer want to be JWs and for those who have left the organization but still need support.
- AAWA is a religiously neutral educational organization. It is a legal not-for-profit entity—with members and volunteers who do not proselytize their personal religious or non-religious beliefs. (AAWA is NOT a social network.)
- All AAWA volunteers should be passionate about wanting to educate the non-JW World about Watchtower’s abuses that violate basic human rights.
- We ask all volunteers to treat each other with respect and empathy.
- AAWA is networking with SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests). SNAP’s code of conduct for its volunteers is: “Never tell a lie and don’t use profanity.”
- AAWA’s efforts will result in occasional personal attacks and differing opinions about what its volunteers are trying to accomplish. Realize that how we react to these situations is our choice. Therefore, we will need to carefully address the facts of those issues and not take any attacks personally.
- All AAWA work will be done in a team environment. Personal agendas should be handled outside of the AAWA structure.
- AAWA will actively promote non-AAWA blogs and social networks that share accurate information about Watchtower abuses and offer support for ex-JWs.
- AAWA needs specific skills in several volunteer areas. For anyone unable to volunteer, AAWA encourages them to support our mission by re-communicating information shared on our website and in newsletters and also by providing financial support. We will be redesigning our online volunteer request forms to reflect this.
- AAWA networks with Steven Hassan and his FreedomofMind.com to help educate the world community, Jehovah’s Witnesses and ex-JWs about how the Watchtower Society uses unethical mind-control techniques (“The BITE Model”) and yet frames its harmful policies as being “humane and loving.”
- While AAWA needs to stay focused on its mission if it is to achieve its goals, it will from time to time point out the absurdity of governments granting charitable status and tax advantages to the Watchtower – a group that engages in no publicly available charitable activities.
- Because of the need to produce videos and attract more volunteers, AAWA will create a separate database focused on anyone willing to offer their special production skills (camera operators, post-production editors, sound engineers/providers, onscreen actors and voice-over talent – with profiles, etc.). We will also be looking for professional level video/audio equipment that could be used or borrowed per geographical location.
- AAWA is now networking with Janet Heimlich’s Child-Friendly Faith Project to help end child abuse – be it psychological or sexual. At an all-day conference in Austin, Texas, on November 8, 2013 we will explore potential solutions that could stop future cover-ups of child molestation by Jehovah’s Witnesses, Catholics and other patriarchal religious groups, and much more. Janet’s organization is driven by the following wisdom: “All adults have the right to engage in faith practices that enrich their lives. Still, we must think seriously about how our faith practices affect society’s youngest members. Through this examination, we can ensure that all faith is child-friendly.”
AAWA recently reorganized its corporate structure. By law, we must have identifiable corporate officers, and we do. Mickey Hudson, Lee Marsh and Richard Kelly make up our current Board of Directors. Lee will serve as President for the next year, Mickey will be Vice President, and Richard will continue as Secretary & Treasurer. While these officers have specific roles and responsibilities, they should not be construed as being a “hierarchy.” The Board of Directors makes its decisions based on the advice of AAWA’s Board of Advisors and a Strategic Planning Team made up of twenty-five passionate volunteers committed to AAWA’s mission.
If you have questions or would like more information about AAWA’s 2013-2014 Action Plans, please direct your emails to: Editor@AAWA.co
If you are a member of the press or media and would like to contact us for articles, interviews, or specific information, please direct your emails to: Media@AAWA.co
If you are a current or former Jehovah’s Witness, or have family or friends that are Jehovah’s Witnesses and are looking for specific information or support, please address your emails to: Support@AAWA.co