This letter is going to all volunteers with the Funeral Consumers Alliance groups in New York State as well as to advocates for the right to family-directed funerals around the country. It's time for the citizens of the Empire State to take back an important right.
New York is one of only nine states that prohibit families from acting as their own funeral director. Yes, I mean an undertaker-free funeral where the family prepares the body, files the paperwork, and completes the arrangements. Some choose this because they want to continue caring for someone who meant a great deal in life. Others may not be able to afford even the most basic services of a funeral home. But New York says, No. Your dead are the property of the commercial funeral industry.
We need your help to change that. And before you stop reading and say, "Oh, well, I'm not interested in that or my group isn't interested in that," take a moment to remember: the foundation of funeral consumer rights includes the right not to be a consumer at all. Even if a home funeral isn't right for you, without us families who want this option have no one to stand up for them.
So what can you do?
- Suzanne Bosjolie of Colton, New York, has put up a petition to be delivered to the New York legislature. We need your signature!
- You can write to me and say "count me in!" I'll put interested folks in touch with each other.
- Download the brand-new position paper on home funerals co-authored by FCA and the National Home Funeral Alliance. It has everything you need to start a conversation with each other, and eventually lawmakers, on how to restore this right. New York state's laws are cited and explained in this document.
For now it's enough just to get the conversation going, so I look forward to hearing from you! As the issue develops we can work out a strategy to move forward. I know New York's dedicated FCA leaders have the talent to get it done!
Josh Slocum, Executive Director