the HCI/MMM Merger
by Angel Shamaya
The cat is now out of the bag. Handgun
Control, Inc. -- who wishes to now be called "The Brady Campaign", a
wish I do not grant -- is taking the bankrupt (financially and morally) and
misnamed "Million" Mom March under
their socialist wing.
This makes a lot of sense, actually. For
a lot of reasons.
First, MMM was barely able to get 200 people to
the mall in D.C. for their second attempt to whine our rights away on Mother's
Day. They make clever, emotion-rich sound bites, but they don't have much
pull, truth be told.
Next, strident activists such as Jim March got
them ousted from their San
Francisco headquarters and exposed
them for abusing public funds. They need some shelter -- from
themselves and their management. They need a Sugar Daddy.
Scott Harmon, a hardline constitutionalist from
Texas, had some interesting observations today regarding the merger:
"Well, I suppose that is another
brilliant strategic move. Let's see, MMM is bankrupt, has seen a dramatic fall
in membership, and couldn't mount a fraction of the numbers of last year for
this year's march. HCI has been vocal, but lacked money. This looks like good
news for our side. By the time HCI tries to fund MMM, tries to integrate the
dregs of the management team still there, and hold on to apolitical feel good
mom's, who might join MMM, but who probably won't want to be dragged into the
HCI morass, I guess they'll have a lot less time to hassle gun owners."
But more than all of that, we now know one
thing for sure: We the Constitutionalists are winning. Why do I say that?
Consider the following:
1) Handgun Control, Inc., who has
supported bans but no longer openly admits to their full agenda publicly, just
invested time, energy and money to change their name and their face: http://www.BradyCampaign.org.
Their new intended name is "Brady Campaign and Brady Center to Prevent Gun
Violence." Gun control is a loser, so much so that the largest,
oldest gun control organization can't keep their own, well-known name.
2) MMM couldn't make it on its own, even
with the backing of the media who has given them scads of free press from their
"humble" beginnings. Something that sounds so good on the surface --
but isn't once you dig deeper -- is also a loser. In the Handgun Control,
Inc. press release announcing the merging of HCI and MMM, we find the following
"This alliance sends a clear message
that the gun control movement is uniting and targeted," said Sarah Brady.
Actually, the message is not that unification
is taking place, but rather that dispersed units are forming into fuller units
due to depletion -- much like when companies of troops in wartime lose enough
members that they must band with other fragmented units in order to simply
function. Sarah's spinmeisters have a great sense of humor; surely some of
the anti-constitution sheep are buying.
Then there is the internal HCI/MMM memo I
received today that includes a letter allegedly written by Donna Dees-Thomases
and Mary Leigh Blek. This one offers all kinds of meaty insight into these
folks who want to strip your gun cabinet clean and who are celebrating the fact
that the federal government is violating federal law by keeping records of your
gun purchases. (The entire memo is contained in this page, below.)
In this memo, obtained by one of many moles
hanging out on various HCI/MMM email lists, the following quotes are found:
1) "The Brady Campaign and Brady
Center Board of Trustees will be responsible for decision making for
That's enlightening. Brady calling the shots
for Blek and Dees-Thomases.
2) "...to assist chapters and speak
publicly for the Moms."
MMM needs Brady to speak for them now.
3) "This alliance ties-in directly
with the Brady Campaign and Brady Center's overall strategic plan to raise an
army of supporters."
The kind of "army" these
anti-rights people can raise is no match for the unorganized militia, should
they push too far. Let the mommies remember that.
4) "No one likes to talk about the
dreaded 501c3 and c4. So, for now, let's keep things as they are until the Brady
Campaign has a chance to jump in and help us make these decisions."
March likes to talk about it.
5) "A summer "listening
tour" is planned to get chapter input before final decisions are
Count on plenty of liberty advocates to be
present at said events, "listening."
HCI/MMM Internal Memo
Brady Campaign/Center Alliance with Million Mom March
Frequently Asked Questions - FOR INTERNAL USE
June 26, 2001
Q: Will the MMM chapters continue to exist? What does this mean for the
structure of the organization?
Yes, MMM chapters will continue as they always have. Each chapter will have
to sign a new agreement to work with the Brady Campaign and Brady Center, but
each chapter will be autonomous in its decision-making capabilities under the
guiding principles of the Brady Campaign and Center. Our goal is to facilitate a
bottom-up culture of grassroots, while helping to provide guidance and tools
from the national level.
Q: Who will be in charge of the MMM?
The Brady Campaign and Brady Center Board of Trustees will be responsible for
decision making for MMM, just as they are for all of the Brady Campaign and
Center's programs. We will be adding a total of three seats to our Board of
Trustees to accommodate a voice for the MMM. One seat will be a full three-year
term on the Brady Campaign, another a full three-year term on the Brady Center.
In addition, a third leader of the MMM will serve a member-elected one-year term
on the Brady Center, just as members elect a one-year Brady Campaign board.
Q: Will there be separate MMM staff working at the Brady Campaign and Brady
We will be hiring staff dedicated to MMM activities, including a director to
assist chapters and speak publicly for the Moms. All staff will be employees of
the Brady Campaign and Brady Center and their efforts will be effectively
integrated into all of our programmatic activities. In addition, as stated
above, MMM leadership will have representation on our Board of Trustees to
provide input and guidance from a grassroots perspective.
Q: Will there be any change in the number of employees at the Brady
Campaign/Brady Center due to this alliance?
Yes. We will need to add some infrastructure to handle to thousands of
requests for information, training, and advice that we will receive from this
alliance. We will also need to set up better systems to help deliver quality
training and tools to a large numbers of activists, including MMM, state allies,
health professionals and Brady Campaign members.
Q: What are the benefits to the movement from this alliance?
This alliance will create a unified, cohesive, targeted and stronger gun
violence prevention movement, which can ultimately match and surpass the gun
lobby in our ability to affect change in Congress and in state Legislatures.
This alliance ties-in directly with the Brady Campaign and Brady Center's
overall strategic plan to raise an army of supporters. This alliance is the
first major step in accomplishing that task. It is also critical that we don't
waste our precious resources in the movement. With this alliance there will be
no more duplicating of resources and organization infrastructure, as there was
Q: What happens to the independent state allies that the Brady Campaign has
worked with for so many years?
This alliance between the Brady Campaign and MMM is about capacity building
for the ENTIRE gun violence prevention movement, not just MMM. The Brady
Campaign will continue to work with and help to build those independent state
groups that we have worked closely with throughout the years. The systems that
we will put in place to better deliver the necessary information, tools and
trainings to the MMM activists will also be used to better help build the
capacities of our state allies.
As always, thank you for your hard work and patience during this time of
restructuring. We are getting closer to our goal of creating a strong national
voice for gun policy change in this country.
Forty chapter leaders attended the HCI workshop last week to meet with
leaders of the Million Mom March and the Brady Campaign (formerly Handgun
Control Inc.) At this workshop, we announced internally the strategic alliance
with the Brady Campaign after weeks of negotiations.
Don Mertic, our interim executive director, was there to assure us of a
smooth transition. In the spirit of the MMM, Don is a volunteer working full
time on the Million Mom March. He has years of experience in nonprofit
management. Thank you, Don!
Kerry Gallivan from Join Together was there to answer questions about the
chapter list serve and the MMM E- Newsletter. It was agreed that we all liked
the increased communication and sharing. We hope to continue to foster and
improve the communication with our leaders throughout this transition period and
into the new era. Thank you, Kerry, Sally, Anara and Susan from Join Together
for making this happen.
The Million Mom March marches on!
The moms (and others) in attendance were reassured that we will retain our
Million Mom March name and our focus on building grassroots support for sensible
gun laws and safe kids. This alliance was met with great enthusiasm and we have
heard lots of support for this historic "joining of forces" from our
chapters across the country.
A very lively discussion ensued at the workshop when we talked about the
needs and structuring of the chapters in relationship to the National Office. No
one likes to talk about the dreaded 501c3 and c4. So, for now, let's keep things
as they are until the Brady Campaign has a chance to jump in and help us make
Mike Barnes, President of the Brady Campaign and Chris Carr who serves as
their VP and Chief Operating Officer met with the moms and shared perspectives
from the Brady Campaign. It was clear that they appreciate and value the MOMS in
what we have brought to the movement and are eager to help meet chapter needs.
As always, our best ideas come from the chapter members in the field. We know
you have ideas and opinions including those about the accounting system,
chartering process, endorsement of candidates, and chapter legal relationships
to National. We want to hear them! A summer "listening tour" is
planned to get chapter input before final decisions are made. As soon as we can
arrange schedules and meeting places there will be announcements made. We hope
as many members as possible will be able to be at these gatherings.
A press conference is planned for 11 am, June 28th at the Crowne Plaza to
announce the alliance to the general public. We expect that many of you will be
getting calls from the press for comment, so talking points will be coming to
you on another message. Any MMM members who wish to attend are wholeheartedly
invited. Sarah Brady will be there!
NEW NATIONAL OFFICE
October 1 is the target date that we will have our new national office in
place. You will receive a list of Brady Campaign staff assigned exclusively to
the Million Mom March chapters. Names, job descriptions, phone numbers and email
addresses will go out to all chapter presidents by the end of September.
Please continue to send your ideas and concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org
and we will try our best to respond to you in a timely fashion. The general
policies and accounting procedures remain the same as before with all checks and
requisitions for chapter money going to the National Office in Chicago:
Don Mertic, Interim Executive Director Million Mom March - Attn. Gayle 3737
North Mozart Chicago, IL 60618 Phone: 773 588-0180 Ext. 1251 FAX 773 588-7762
For those chapters who have completed phase two, consider yourself fully
chartered! One of the improvements in fostering growth of new chapters is to
make the process easier.
Take a Break!
We have heard from many of you that you are looking forward to a slower pace
during the summer. YOU ALL DESERVE IT! We know that this has been a very busy
year and you will need the rest because we have a lot of work ahead when we
LAUNCH in early fall!!
It is a pleasure and honor to be marching on with all of you,
Donna and Mary Leigh
PS a special thank you to Dana Quist, Rene Thompson and Claudette Perry for
helping the MMM during this transition time.