A Liberty Institute
by Julianne Thompson
Published August 20, 2016
Additions/edits made periodically
This is a proposal for a pilot program, a Foundation or Liberty Institute of sorts, that will include renovating an old warehouse or industrial property, preferably near the Cobblestone District in the City of Buffalo, New York. The purpose of this venture is to”take back the cities” by providing an interactive educational and entrepreneurial environment that will foster the desire of people to actively participate in the political process from a grassroots perspective, while engaging in a wide range of creative projects and business pursuits. It may also be viewed as a pilot program whose successes may shared with other cities suffering from blight and economic decline.
A Liberty Hub housed within HUD for example, would help fulfill the desire of the new Administration to rebuild infrastructure, grow and prosper the cities, while providing the means whereby public benefit recipients can learn valuable skills while transitioning from welfare to work. It is expected the Cafe, Gift Shoppe and other in-house ventures will be able to support the work of the Liberty Institute, and outside of being part of a federal economic development program, it is hoped the foundation would be able to secure initial funding through investments, endowments or philanthropic gifts.
This concept began with a deep desire to see improvement in the social and economic condition of the cities, and provide a greater understanding of our nation’s Constitutional founding. It would house a Constitutional Law Center, and the signature program would be a Foundations of Liberty Series which would feature profiles of Conservative/Libertarian Black Americans and other minorities, in the cities of Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Other programs include Feed the Need, a voluntary program for students in schools at risk of violent behavior and Vet Respite, which sponsors returning Military Veterans at suicide risk to a retreat in Nicaragua. Details below.
This endeavor would continue the work of TEA New York and affiliated reform groups under a new name and a greatly expanded program. TEA New York, as the name suggests, is a Tea Party group that arose out of the reform movement that began at the end of 2008, and it is networked with other prominent reform groups in NYS including the Western New York 2nd Amendment group formerly known as the Shooters Committee on Political Education (SCOPE), the Conservative Society for Action (CSA) and We the People of NY Inc. (WTP-NY). TEA New York has maintained a Website,Blog, Meetup, Googlegroup Discussion Forum, Facebook, Twitter and PAC since 2009, and has a fairly large active membership informed in part by our past Alerts. From our website:
Our mission is to help reign in the enormous inefficient and unaccountable New York State government by identifying corruption and abuse; proactively address growing constitutional violations by government officials; and provide the means by which the citizenry can actively engage in the process of bringing about reform.
The Constitutional Law Center (CLC)
This would engage the legal profession and other interested parties to advocate on behalf of citizens charged by unlawful law, or law that violates US Constitutional protections – like the New York SAFE Act – which makes previously legal firearms illegal, establishes a statewide medical database and does nothing to address the problem of criminals who will continue to use high capacity mags while law abiding people are limited to ten rounds.
In addition, with the State of New York leading all other states as having the most dysfunctional Legislature in the entire nation according to the Brennan Center for Law & Justice, the CLC will be the staging ground for class-action lawsuits against the State of New York for the restoration of Initiative and Referendum, the fiscal abuse and unaccountability of the State Authorities (Water, Sewer, Thruway etc), for the depoliticization of the Board of Elections and the abuse of the Message of Necessity as examples. With 1000+ friends who support our work in WNY alone, a $20 commitment from 100 supporters is a reasonable expectation to initiate each class-action lawsuit. See other proposals to reform NYS government here.
Of immediate concern is advocating for the passage of State Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb’s People’s Convention Reform Bill to prohibit elected officials from becoming delegates to the 2018 Constitutional Convention, and obtaining the process by which people can become delegates. We would also research and advocate for the Sheriff’s Authority to convene Grand Juries on elected officials who appear derelict in their official responsibilities, as in the case of Erie County Board of Elections Commissioner Jeremy Zellner and Erie County Legislator Betty Jean Grant in April 2017.
The CLC would also provide classes to equip people in managing campaigns, obtaining Notary Public and Pistol Permits, becoming Parliamentarians, as well as developing other insights for featured speaking events and for digital media consumption.
Foundations in Liberty
This is a series of events in the cities of Buffalo and Niagara Falls NY that would engage urban communities in better understanding history with the hope of positively impacting the future social and economic conditions in urban environments. It would begin with an Underground Railroad themed event with portraits of predominantly Conservative and Libertarian, mostly Black, and those considered Minority Americans who have made contributions towards the cause of liberty, on easels with large text. Speakers may include Charlie Kirk or Candace Owens of Turning Point, Thomas Sowell, Ben Carson, Clarence Thomas, Walter E Williams, Frantz Kebreau and Starr Parker, the event would have music, refreshments, free raffles would be held to give away books and short instructive videos from for example, PragerU would be shown.
Feed the Need
This a voluntary, faith-based program to pull violent and potentially violent students out of the public school system and place them in a separate learning environment, using intensive intervention to develop in the students a sense of discipline, personal responsibility and self-worth.
This program sponsors returning military veterans who may be at suicide risk and need to decompress from the fog of war to retreat to La Biosfera in Jinotega, Nicaragua. The proprietor is Suzanne Wopperer, sister of Julianne (Jul) Thompson, Founder of TEA New York and Buffalo’s Monticello. This currently has the support of WNY Heroes and the Marine Corps Coordinating Council. Webpage here: Vet Respite at La Biosfera. Additionally Ben & Jackie Wassell would like to provide a local retreat in Buffalo’s southtowns.
We would produce informational and instructional videos exposing corruption at the Board of Elections, how to do a write-in at the ballot box and how to manage an independent campaign for political office, for examples. We can resurrect Buffalo Cable Access Media (BCAM) for community access, styled on the Access Tucson model. Additionally, a Song & Dance Troupe could engage Praise and Worship team members and other musicians from the region to produce music videos, some with personal stories to share on social media. We might begin by producing videos using the music of MercyMe’s Greater, TobyMac’s Feel it, King and Country’s Fix My Eyes and Jordan Feliz’ The River, possibly engaging members of local multicultural churches in participating.
In-House Art Gallery
This would showcase the work of local artists and draw attention to our work.
Additional Groups, Organizations and Initiatives
We would support and share information about ongoing efforts to inform and educate apart from the mainstream media; assist in strengthening families; help develop skills and personal responsibility; properly inform people, engage them in the political process and help elect principled candidates to elective office by various other organizations and initiatives including but not limited to:
- Turning Point
- 2nd Amendment Orgs, NRA
- Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) & Jury Nullification
- EMPact America
- Institute for Justice (Arlington VA)
- ACLJ – The American Center for Law & Justice
- Judicial Watch
- Liberty Counsel
- The Heritage Foundation
- Hillsdale College/Imprimus
- The Limbaugh Institute of Advanced Conservative Studies
- The Frederick Douglass Foundation
- Conservative Society for Action (CSA)
- We The People of NY Inc (WTP-NY)
- Primary Challenge
- Free Buffalo
- Charter Schools
- Lobby to bring BOCES to five major NYS population centers
- Choose to Refuse Common Core
- Main Street Growth & Opportunity Coalition
- Ellicott Development Corp
- Launch NY
- The Thomas R Beecher Jr Innovation Center
- Referrals to Job Skills Training & Educational Opportunities
- SonRays Ministries
- Erie County Sheriff’s Office (ESCO)
As this project would be a sort of incubator for entrepreneurial startups, a few suggestions may include
- Just a Pretty Face– a design & construction company
that would provide new facades on old structurally sound
buildings – or work could be subcontracted
- Road Crew – A revolving crew of curbing, sidewalk and light landscaping/road repair, using Minimax Concrete Corp mixers
- Custom Crafted Entryways – arches and unique architectural elements
- Grimestoppers – A window washing and/or gutter cleaning low-cost startup
- The Buffalo Exchange — A second-hand quality clothing exchange
- Flamingo Grove – handmade products, promoted online and at gift shoppe. This could become a franchise featuring local artisans in different towns and cities around the country.
- Who Needs Emeril? –a high-end catering service for cocktail parties
- Medieval Garb – period fashion – not costumes but adjusted for the 21stcentury
- Little Hippy Baby Clothes – best fabrics & patterns, awesome design
- Little Men – Cummerbunds, suspenders, bowties & fashion, for the young sir…
- Short Films – and music videos to popular & local Christian music, some featuring silhouetting and close-knit choreographed dance with personal stories to share on social media
- Spirit of America Rally, April 1, 2017
- The Last TEA New York Christmas/New Year Party, December 31, 2017
- Women Marines Association WNY Chapter Kickoff, February 13, 2018
- Marine Corps League National Convention in Buffalo, August 2018
- Women Marine Centennial Celebration in DC, Aug-Sep 2018
- 10 Year Anniversary/Awards Ceremony/Buffalo’s Monticello Kickoff Event, May 2019
– for honoring member contributions, the last event as TEA New York
- The Great Gun Getaway – a weekend of skeet/target competition at a mountain lodge
- Carl Paladino Roast
- Karaoke Cookout
- Sing for Life – Fundraising March for Natural Cures for Cancer
- Local Artist Auction
- Battle of the Bands
THE BUILDING PROGRAM
- Welcome/Introduction portal — with conference area, multimedia info hub and area for Business Assist
- Auditorium with adjoining Reception area– for speakers, presentations, productions, showing films and for general meetings. It may also be rented or made available for use by affiliated or outside groups.
- Gym/Production Room– for choreography and for doubling as a basketball court and athletic club.
- Studio– for video production
- Gallery— to showcase the work of local artists and draw attention to our work
- Cafe– to support the work of the Foundation
- Kitchen– to serve the Cafe as well as the larger needs of the Foundation
- Gift Shoppe– to support the work of the Foundation, featuring the work of local artists
- Common Areas– for the coffee klatch
- Artist Studios– utilized or rented to support the work of the Foundation
- Studio Apartments– rented to support the work of the Foundation
- Large Apartment— for onsite management, security
- CLC office — Conference Room & library
- Offices– for research, management and administrative support
- Manufacturing Area— space reserved for Minimax Concrete Corp & other project
- Retail space
- Other– mechanical, storage, restrooms, etc.
- Accounting/Admin Support
- Labor/Volunteer Help
Developed in the Summer of 2016 by
Julianne M. Thompson
VP, Minimax Concrete Corp
TEA New York, Co-Founder with Rus Thompson
Field Director/Trip Coordinator for New York for Trump
BPS in Architecture, SUNYAB
Veteran, USMC, 4th MarDiv