There are a number of invaluable ways that you can get involved. Every little bit helps.
1) Legal Assistance: First, and foremost, Paul Cortez is in dire need of a qualified lead attorney willing to take on this case for its own sake and not the sake of a fat paycheck. There has been a lot of interest and buzz taking place behind the scenes, but as of yet nothing has been secured. If you are an attorney with the willingness to help, please contact PCDF as soon as possible to discuss the details.
2) Investigative services: Are you an experienced criminal investigator with room to take on this crucial and important case? Even as a volunteer consulting investigator, it will go a long way in helping secure the right evidence to help Paul clear his name.
3) Forensic services: In the coming future, it will be required to submit key evidence for testing in order for Paul to prove his innocence in his fight for freedom. Forensic testing is an expensive ordeal, so if you or your team of science minded professionals are willing to volunteer lab services and consultation, this, too, will be of tremendous service to Paul.
4) Financial Donations: Every dollar directly helps Paul in his fight for justice. We are asking you to please contribute anything you possibly can in order to get Paul to the finish line. Every little bit helps. As a reminder, your contribution (via the Wrongful Conviction Defense Fund, Inc. – a 501(c)(3) organization) is eligible for tax deduction.
5) Educate Yourself: Familiarize yourself with the real facts about the wrongful conviction of Paul Cortez. Please review the Case Information Overview, and then visit the rest of the sections for a more detailed analysis of the case, the evidence, the forensic reports, and other case documents to be able to properly discern the facts from the fiction – not the least of which is the way the media’s irresponsible and false reporting so strongly affected the outcome of his trial. Talk to your friends, network, and join the PCDF community – become an activist for the freedom of Paul Cortez. Contribute to the Defense Fund by purchasing your Free Paul campaign tshirt and wear it often.
6) Case Info Distribution: Download and print out our case info flyers, brochures, and Download One sheet to distribute to various hotspot locations, such as coffee shops, libraries, college campuses, local bookstores, community centers, bus stops, apartment buildings, public bulletin boards, and other public spaces.
7) Artist Transit: Create art and artistic works depicting Paul’s wrongful conviction – tshirts, posters, bumper stickers, and other graphic art; develop screenplays, theater plays, video documentaries; host benefit concerts to help raise awareness and raise funds. Use your talents to support and sponsor the talent that is being restricted from its most beautiful expression. Raise money and contribute to the Defense Fund.
8) Network & Namedrop: Are you friends with the rich and famous? The influential? The celebrity? Contact your friends in high places and inform them about your Cause for Paul’s freedom; if they aren’t able to help, perhaps they know someone else who can. Don’t stop networking and asking everyone you meet – somewhere, someone has the right connections who will step up and make a difference.
9) Fundraising: There are numerous ways to generate funds that can be contributed to Paul’s defense. Yard sales, bake sales, babysitting, something-a-thons, car washes, host a potluck dinner and ask your attendants to donate $10 or $20. Clean out the basements, closets, and attics and conduct some Free Paul eBay auctions. Get creative – and inform everyone about the Free Paul Cortez campaign. Join the PCDF site, “Like” the Facebook page dedicated to Paul’s defense, join the Free Paul campaign. Host a pay to play community event such as a treasure hunt or road rally. Write a down and dirty How To booklet for quick, impulse sales and donate the proceeds to Paul’s Defense Fund.
10) Social Networking: It’s what we do. Add links to the Free Paul Cortez Defense Fund website to your email, to forum signatures, to social network profiles, to your own website or blog. Add Free Paul banners and buttons linked back to the PCDF site to your online networking. It’s a simple and free solution to get the word out that has the potential for enormous gains, from finding the funding, the sources, and keeping Paul’s fight for freedom in the public eye.
11) Journalism: Write an Op-Ed piece or Letter to the Editor for your local or national newspaper and/or favorite magazine. An Op-Ed is a column or guest essay published in the opinion section of a newspaper. Most are between 500-750 words, and most outlets will take submissions by fax, e-mail or mail. Click here to view the submission criteria for the top 100 newspapers. If you would like the PCDF to review your op-ed piece before you submit it, we would be happy to do so. A Letter to the Editor allow you to offer a short rebuttal to an article or commentary, or add a crucial missing perspective. Most letters should be 150-250 words. Specific guidelines by news outlet are listed here.
12) Free Paul: The Book: Educate yourself on the facts and write a book dedicated to Paul’s plight, self publish, donate to Paul’s Defense Fund.
13) HIGH SCHOOL/COLLEGE STUDENTS & RECENT GRADUATES:
Campus Coordinators: We are actively seeking current high school and college students to act as campus coordinators to mobilize fund raisers and to raise awareness.
Interns: We have several part-time writing and research opportunities available. If interested, please send your resume, a writing sample, and brief cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org.
14) Free Paul Campaign Media: We are always looking for creative people to design new flyers, artwork for tshirts, bumper stickers, and other media to help spread the word about Paul’s case. Please email us if you are interested.
15) You Tube: Start a dedicated You Tube channel to opine about the Free Paul campaign; create compelling infovids about the case and Paul’s wrongful conviction and network through You Tube; host a Podcast and help raise awareness.
16) Donation Tins: If you own or manage a business with a high customer base, consider putting out a large donation jar with a print of the Free Paul campaign graphics and a stack of brochures.
17) Console Cash: Scrape together all that loose change in your vehicle’s console and once a month, take it to your local grocery store or credit union and exchange for cash, then donate to Paul’s Defense Fund.
18) Flat Broke Options:
It happens to us all sometimes, we just can’t spare the extra cash at the worst possible time. For those of you in this situation, but who would like to help – try the social networking options available; You can also help in the way of spirit and morale boosting by sending postcards and messages to Paul through the PCDF team, just to remind him that there are many of us out here who hear him, who care, and who are paying attention, keeping his plight in the public eye and keeping him in our thoughts and prayers.
There is no shortage of ideas, avenues, and possibilities to help us generate the funding that Paul desperately needs to continue his fight. If you find yourself stumped for thoughtful ideas, spend a few minutes thinking about the one you love the most and consider what avenues you would pursue if he or she was convicted for life for a crime he or she did not commit. What would you wish for? You’d wish for a mass number of people to just care enough to do something, no matter how small…to get involved and help.
Pledge to forego one night out this month and instead, click the Donate button below. Try to encourage just one of your friends to match your donation, and request your friend make the same pledge challenge to one of his or her friends. If you can’t afford a donation of several hundred dollars, why not consider donating $10 and then networking 100 people to donate $10 each.
Any time you come across an article, comment board, forum, etc. that has published information about this case, about Paul, no matter how dated, register and post a rebuttal, direct people back to the PCDF site to get the facts. Breathe fresh energy into the case.
There are many things you can do. But before you can do anything, you have to find it within yourself to just care enough.
Paul Cortez is a beautiful, super talented, gentle and loving young man who did not deserve to be railroaded by investigators, steamrolled by the media, or condemned by a misled, misinformed jury. He did not deserve the devastation of being accused of murder on top of having to endure the loss of the woman he truly loved.
Paul Cortez, sitting at Starbucks reading his book, calling his clients, enjoying some coffee had no idea that at the same time, the girl he adored was being viciously stabbed to death less than 2 blocks away. He fell to the ground and sobbed over her death, anguished and confused, and wanting answers, wanting to help. And instead, he was crucified by those he presumed he could trust.
They’ve taken his life and his freedom.
Please don’t look the other way. Please do what you can.
On behalf of Paul and the PCDF team, we genuinely, truly thank you for anything and everything that you do to help.
Free Paul Cortez