Bootz and Burma

My friend Bootz (aka Michael Bootzin) is about to embark on a world record-breaking weekend of non-stop talking. The entire effort is to bring awareness to the plight of Burmese refugees. I’ve included the press release below, and a note from Bootz beneath the press release. Hopefully some of you can be part of this event…

For Immediate Release: June 08, 2006

Contacts: Jeremy Woodrum, US Campaign for Burma, (202) 223-0300 Michael Bootzin (414)362-0324 World Record Attempt To Bring Voice To Voiceless

(Milwaukee, Wisconsin) Beginning on 16, June 2006 at 7:00 p.m. Milwaukee native Michael Bootzin, representing the U.S. Campaign for Burma, will attempt to break the Guinness World Record(tm) for speaking almost 111 consecutive hours.

The marathon effort is dedicated to the world’s only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi (pronounced Ong Sawn Sue Chee) and all people in the Southeast Asian country of Burma. The event will take place three days before Suu Kyi’s 61st birthday.

“I am trying to give a voice to the voiceless,??? said Bootzin. “Aung San Suu Kyi can not speak so I am going to speak out to support her.???

That same weekend, more than 250 related events will be taking place in thirteen countries and thirty states in the United States. At the event in Milwaukee and elsewhere, participants will raise money for the grassroots organization U.S. Campaign for Burma.

Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for over ten of the last seventeen years, even though her political party won 82% of the seats in parliament in Burma’s last democratic election. The military regime that rules Burma refused to hand over power and placed member of her political party the National League for Democracy in prison or house arrest. According to Amnesty International, over 1,100 political prisoners remain behind bars and Aung San Suu Kyi lives in virtual solitary confinement.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s admirers include music bands U2, and R.E.M. and political leaders Madeleine Albright, Senator John McCain, and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. Many know her as the “Nelson Mandela of Asia???.

Burma’s military regime has forcibly recruited 70,000 child soldiers (more than any other country in the world) as well as forced over 1 million refugees to flee the country. The International Labor Organization, a United Nations agency, has called for international pressure on the military regime for its use of forced labor, a modern form of slavery.

Wisconsin Senators Russell Feingold and Herb Kohl have been strongly supportive of peaceful change in Burma by most recently voting for the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act. Feingold has encouraged the UN Security Council to take further action, and the Council will meet to discuss Burma this week.

The event will be held at one of Milwaukee’s best socially responsible businesses, Futuregreen. The address is 2352 S Kinnickinnic Ave Milwaukee, WI 53207 Tel (414) 294-4300 Bootzin, a Guitar/Piano instructor performer as well as stage hand for Alpine Valley Music Theater and the Bradley Center, has been an active local volunteer at the Hunger Task Force, Indian Council for the Elderly, The Family House and others. Most recently he helped Running Rebels, an after school program for at risk kids, obtain keyboards for a fundamental keyboard class that he taught.

“I believe we are all connected and we have a responsibility to support international human rights as well as throw our support to important local needs,??? says Bootzin, as he gets ready to focus on the world record.

The current Guinness World Record(tm) is 110 hours and 45 minutes of continuous reading. Bootzin plans to begin the event with published works by Aung San Suu Kyi with a personalized slide show based on his experiences working for human rights in Burma and Thailand.

For more information on Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma, visit


Bootz said:

WOW!!! It is awesome to know that we have a community of people willing to take time out of their lives to learn a little about Burma and help the burmese in their struggle for freedom. I’ve included a copy of the press release below. Guinness world records requires that I have witnesses and I have successfully scheduled 32 people covering 63 shifts for this event. that’s the good news… I still have 50 more shifts to fill below are the times If you can help out with some personal time the appreciation goes beyond any thank you I could give. I will break the record in the afternoon on wednesday. For my students and others under 18 who are bringing sleeping bags there will be a place to store them downstairs until they are needed for your evening sleeping ritual, though I dare you to stay up with me!!! For those of you out of state if you know of people in the milwaukee area that would help Please please forward this message to them. If you are unable to help with personal time won’t you consider…….
Yea you have heard that one enough to know the end of the sentence.

checks are tax-deductable write them out to the u.s. campaign for burma and in the memo put “world record/arrest yourself event”. Or you can go directly to and make a donation by credit card. You can also stop in at the event and give cash or a check at
2352 S. Kinnickinnic, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (414) 294-4300

shifts yet to fill: I need two time witnesses and one health witness and a steward at all times in four hour shifts. you can do from one hour to four hour shifts. You can do more than one shift, but not consecutively more than four hours. To be a Time witness you will have to fill out your name and occupation. You will have a chart that you will fill in the times I begin a break (a pause longer than 30 seconds) to when it ends. I get a break of five minutes for every consecutive hour that I read. There will be large digital clocks, so the time will not be ambiguous.

sat 17th 11a.m.-12, 10a.m.-3, 1p.m.-3, 10p.m.-12
sun 18th 11a.m-12, 12p.m.-5, 4p.m.-8,
mon 19th 1a.m.-8, 4a.m.-8, 12p.m.-4, 2p.m.-7, 11p.m.-12
tue 20th 12a.m.-10, 1p.m.-3, 3p.m.-4, 5p.m.-12
wed 21st all day

To be a Health Witness: People who qualify are doctors and nurses as well as physical and message therapists and e.m.t’s. You will have to fill in your name and occupation and just be present. You may check my vital signs if you feel it is necessary and you can call it off if you feel my life is at risk and the event will have to stop. I have already gone 75 hours now with my practice on 3.5 hours of sleep and I have been able to function without injury to myself or others, so I really doubt that there will be a health risk, so you can come and enjoy the energy.

sat 3a.m.-7, 4p.m.-12
sun 12a.m.-8, 11a.m.-12a.m.
mon all day
tue 12a.m.-6p.m, 10p.m.-12a.m.
wed 12a.m.-6p.m., 10p.m.-12a.m.

To be a Steward: you will explain to the witnesses what they need to fill out and how to do it. You will keep track of my time. Total amount adding five minutes to my available break time after every hour of reading. Wake me up if my alarm doesn’t after a sleep break. make sure garbage cans do not over flow, make sure I get my food and water, coordinating with the people bringing food. If any press show up you will talk to them fisrt. I can answer questions, but the answers will be in 20 second spurts. this shift can be as long as you want to stay.

sat 2a.m.-5p.m., 7a.m.-4p.m.
mon-12a.m.-5a.m., 9a.m.-1p.m.,
tue all day
wed all day

thanks to all of you peace from within to you


for those who think you as one person won’t or can’t make a difference read below:

  1. With only 3 staff, USCampaign for Burma saw: the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act renewed in Congress;
  2. …increased desperately needed cross-border humanitarian aid (secured, I believe, $4 million) to reach people in Eastern Burma;
  3. …was a main player in orchestrating the discussion of Burma at the UN Security Council (which we were told would never happen);
  4. …was quoted in / referenced to / or worked with journalists to get more than 1,000 articles on Burma last year;
  5. …got nearly 20 famous musicians to donate music for the “For The Lady” cd; and one of the leaders of the worldwide day of action for Aung San Suu Kyi’s…
  6. …60th birthday – the largest international action and media coverage probably ever on Burma.
  7. Tiffany’s trembled just at the thought of the force of Burma activists boycotting their store because they buy gems that originally are from Burma – and almost immediately agreed to stop buying them.

When people inside a refugee camp or prison hear that there are others outside putting effort into helping them to gain freedom, it helps to give them the strength to endure. It lets them know that they are not alone or forgotten. you as an individual little speck can make a difference when your efforts are put together with millions of little specks…

And the list goes on. USCB has a reputation for getting things done and doing them right.

Posted: June 16th, 2006
Categories: activism, blog, politics
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