We regret to announce that as of this week we are suspending the Stampede to Amend 2012 Tour. In the interest of transparency we want to give a little bit of background for why we are canceling the tour.
The Amend-O-Matic was designed and commissioned by Ben Cohen. Move to Amend was not involved in the creation of the vehicle, in fact we did not see an accurate model or sketch ahead of time.
The tour launch was pushed back multiple times because the Amend-O-Matic was not ready by the agreed on deadlines. On October 2 when our organizers arrived in Oakland to begin the Shakedown Cruise we were informed that the vehicle was still not complete, but we were able to get our first look at it.
Upon seeing it we were concerned about the design and worried that the Amend-O-Matic would not actually hold up for a tour across the United States. This video talks a little bit about some of the issues.
The week planned for testing out the vehicle and operating it in the Bay Area to work out the kinks was instead spent finishing it up. We did not want to delay the tour any longer, so we insisted that changing the LA launch date on October 11 was not an option.
A valiant effort was attempted by the original artists as well as a team of new folks to get the machine road-worthy. We were able to get it to Los Angeles in time for the launch, but it immediately broke in the next city (Phoenix) and we were unable to use it to stamp there or in the next town.
The stamping machine continued to break-down in various ways along the route, to great frustration and expense in terms of time and stamping and organizing opportunities lost.
Our organizers, Ashley and Renae, kept a good attitude and pushed on, and the local organizers who hosted us in Phoenix, Flagstaff, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Denver, Lawrence, Kansas City, Springfield, Bloomington, Columbus, and Cincinnati were all great. We apologize for the times when we were unable to operate the stamping, but thank you very much for your great attitude and great organizing!
It was becoming more and more clear that the Amend-O-Matic was not fit for a cross country tour. The vehicle is unsafe to drive in windy conditions and even in calm weather, driving it on highways is not an easy task.
As Hurricane Sandy loomed in the path of the tour's next leg, we decided that we should cut our losses. We don't want to risk disappointing any more communities along the way, and we don't feel we can reliably guarantee that we will make the schedule and stops as advertised.
The Amend-O-Matic has been delivered to a repair shop in Pittsburgh to fix the latest issues, after which it will be returned to Ben Cohen. We don't know what he will do with it.
We have learned a lot from this experience and are optimistic that another type of Move to Amend tour is a very realistic goal for 2013 -- with some major adjustments including being able to help design a vehicle that is capable of meeting our goals, and making sure that the tour fits our organizational priorities, rather than those of a funder.
We will continue to make available the rubber stamps, and we are very pleased that we have already distributed over 1000 stamps to all corners of the country. Thanks to all the supporters who donated to get a stamp and who are helping to spread the word about the amendment movement by stamping your cash and outgoing mail!
Anyone can still be involved with the Stampede to Amend project through stamping cash. We have significantly lowered the cost of our stamps since financing the 2012 tour is no longer necessary.
We encourage everyone to hold "Stamp In" events through houseparties, at public events and in public spaces. Get your friends to bring their cash to your house to stamp, or set up a table at your local farmer's market and let passers-by stamp their cash and sign the Move to Amend petition.
We will continue our Barnstorming Tours and will keep you posted about other Move to Amend touring opportunities for 2013.
Thanks for your support!
Kaitlin, David, Ashley, Renae, Beatriz
The Stampede to Amend Team at Move to Amend