Mini Memoir of Early Activism by Chelo Jacob

December 17, 2016

Chelo Jacob is a 66 year old activist who lives in San Rafael, California. Here's a short reflection on witnessing the early years of genital integrity activism:

I became interested in the genital integrity movement early, as I have known Marilyn Milos (Executive Director of it Genital Autonomy America, fka NOCIRC) since 1972, quite a while before NOCIRC was started.  I remember that she first called the organization "Informed Consent", as she thought that parents just needed to be informed about what circumcision really is and it would stop as simply as that.  I wasn't especially active in the early days, as I was living in Southern California and raising my young son.  Unfortunately, the movement was too late to save him; it was before Marilyn's and my awakening.  No one told me about the horror of circumcision, I had to read it in my newborn son's face when they handed him back to me after his surgery.

Later, my son and I helped Marilyn organize a mass mailing by zip code, which took hours. We sent NOCIRC pamphlets to Senators, Congressmen, and people on an ever growing mailing list, but Marilyn's infectious enthusiasm and passion kept us going.  I also remember being at the first International Symposium on Circumcision, where we came together officially for the first time to discuss elements of the issue, and hear from doctors such as the late Paul Fleiss.

I also remember protesting at the AAP early on and one of the doctors asked Marilyn if she was trying to cause violence and she said "No, I am trying to prevent violence!"  I remember walking with a group of the California Medical Association headquarters in San Francisco, along with moms and babies in strollers and being stopped from going up to their offices.  The march in Washington on the Capitol was also memorable; we received a lot of interest from school children passing by as they toured the grounds. 

Most recently I went to stand alongside other intactivists at the American Academy of Pediatrics conference in San Francisco. I was with Jonathan Conte and others at the ferry building to honor the anniversary of the Cologne court decision in favor of banning circumcision.

I know that we are making a difference.  Before I could even talk to my younger stepbrother 14 years ago about the upcoming birth of his son, he said he could never even think of circumcising his son and that all of his friends felt the same way.  It was music to my ears.

I am so proud to be a part of this heart-centered work to protect children and I feel that everyone involved is a part of my family.

Thank you again everyone, for all that you do!
With Love and Appreciation,
Chelo Jacob