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State of Michigan releases my birth certificate it never had a legal right to hold

That's me holding up my original birth certificate, that shows I was a person who born in Detroit with a different name and past than the one I lived after I was adopted. This document is no longer a state secret, despite Michigan's efforts to keep it sealed in some storage area, and especially never in the hands of the human being who owns that document by birthright.

That’s me holding up my original birth certificate, that shows I was a person who born in Detroit with a different name and past than the one I lived after I was adopted. This document is no longer a state secret, despite Michigan’s efforts to keep it sealed in some storage area, and especially never in the hands of the human being who owns that document by birthright.

After decades being denied equal treament by Michigan’s “public health” officials, I finally prevailed in my test of wills with the state’s over-zealous adoption bureaucrats to secure my original birth certificate from the state of my birth. I received my copy of my original birth certificate–the document that was mine by birthright–on July 18, 2016. See my update on my adoption records request summary page.

In typical Michigan fashion and without any legal mandate, the secrecy mongers at the state marked it “SEALED” three times, just to remind me I was a lowly bastard, and not “legitimate” like all non-adoptees who are treated as persons with greater rights. Yes, dear reader, welcome to the world of adoption discrimination and paternalism, Michigan style. However, by publishing my certificate here, I am now taking away the state’s illegal and immoral assertion that my record of birth is a secret document and never meant to be touched, seen, smelled, or owned by me.

Getting my document ultimately required a court order. That was an entirely avoidable process had the state chosen to demonstrate compassion and leadership, and treat me with dignity instead of as a second-class citizen who had to be defeated at great cost. The state always had the ability to exercise discretion in its management of its duties and in accordance with law, but chose to double down on secrecy and oppose a bastard–yes, I am a bastard–who dared question the state’s power and legitimacy.

This 27-year-long effort ultimately occurred because of the state’s out-of-date and discriminatory approach toward adoptees and in managing adoption records. You can see a video of my request on my adoption web resource page. I have published a “key facts” page to summarize the issue. (See below for a detailed record of my requests and the state’s denials and replies, as well as my state Freedom of Information Act [FOIA] request.) My court order, sent to the state on July 1, 2016, finally compelled reluctant “public health” officials to release my original birth certificate. The state always had the abilitiy to release my original identity document, but they chose to deny it to me as far back as 1989. I also published a long-form essay on this journey and why this matters to anyone who cares about public health, fairness, and equality.

 

Also posted in Human Rights Tagged , , , , , , |

Republished story on Nazi camp photodocumentary

I have republished my story called A Trip to the Camps, which I first published in the summer of 2000. The story explores my photodocumentary project on the legacy of Nazi Germany’s crimes against humanity and how that legacy looks today, mainly at the camps where the Nazi state murdered 11 million civilians and prisoners of war. My photo essays on the same topic can also be found on my web site.

My Home Town, Motor City, a Photo Essay

I published a photo essay on my recent trip to Detroit in April 2015. It impacted me in ways I was completely unprepared for. Nearly 700,000 people live there, and this is their reality. It is an American story, and there are many lessons here to be learned and feared. I was bashed by critics on a blog I posted on a web site for local government professionals. The group, all white by the way and only one living in Detroit, lambasted me for parachute journalism and my negativity for failing to tell the good stories of the good people of Detroit. What do you think? Are you a native of Detroit, like me, or do you live there? Did I do the city a disservice, or did I help try to call attention to a national crisis that continues to burn, slow and steady? See my pictures at Detroit, City of the Future.

New photos of Portland and Oregon

I added a new gallery of Portland’s industrial landscapes. This gallery will be updated as I gather new images of the economic base for Portland’s wealth drawn from shipping, manufacturing, and construction. I also added a couple of new images to my Oregon gallery. Please visit again, as my Portland gallery continues to grow.

Additional portraits published

I added some more black and white portraits to my portraits gallery. This gallery will continue to be updated in the coming weeks.

Having fun at the Seattle Kennel Club Show

On March 8, 2014, I attended the Seattle Kennel Club Show–perhaps the eighth or ninth show I have seen over nearly two decades. I never tire of seeing dogs, dogs and their owners, and the fascinating culture that surrounds Americans’ love affair with our species’ closest companion in the animal world. More of my show photos can be found in my Dogs and Masters gallery.

Basset Hound wearing Seahawks color

Basset Hound wearing Seahawks color



Golden getting the makeover before show time

Golden getting the makeover before show time



A bevy of smaller breeds patiently wait for their chance in the ring

A bevy of smaller breeds patiently wait for their chance in the ring

Highlights from 2007 with a consumer-grade Canon digital

Here are a few shots I took over the past decade. Finally got around to adjusting some of their settings. I will call this my three A’s: Arizona, Alaska (Mt. Augustine), and Australia.

High Desert Storm AZ

Storm in central Arizona, 2007.

 

Mt. Augustine, Alaska, 2007
Mt. Augustine, Alaska, 2007.
The Sydney Opera House, taken my last morning in Oz.

The Sydney Opera House, taken my last morning in Oz, 2007.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also posted in Alaska, Arizona, Australia, Photography, Travel Tagged , , , , , |

A few from my dogs and dogs-masters files published

I have been photographing dogs and their relations with humans for decades. I put up a few of them, focussing on the special connection between dog and master.

dogs and owners photos-4

There is no city in America where there is a higher level of dog ownership than in Anchorage (small dog mushing communities in this context do not count). Who doesn’t have a dog there?

Photo gallery/portfolio now published

I made a big push the past few days, while grounded with a case of the flu, to get most of my photo collections published, arranged by location. I will publish other photo essays later. Here’s a sample of one of the last photos I put online.

His Beatitude, the lateTorkom Manoogian, from a photo taken in 2004.

His Beatitude, the lateTorkom Manoogian, from a photo taken by me, in his office in Jerusalem, in 2004.

Rudy Owens’ Web Site Now Live

More is yet to come. Please be patient as I get the site up and running. Thanks. RO (2/19/2013)