Press Release  | 07/31/2014

Protect the Kids: End the Drug War

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80 Organizations Come Together To Highlight Plight of The Drug War’s Youngest Victims At Home and Abroad

Broad Coalition Comprised of Civil Rights, Criminal Justice, Immigration, Racial Justice, Human Rights Organizations

A diverse coalition of more than 80 civil rights, immigration, criminal justice, racial justice, human rights, libertarian and religious organizations are joined by notable figures such as Michelle Alexander in calling for an end to the war on drugs in the name of protecting children both in Latin America and here in the United States. The supporters of the letter – which include the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Center for Constitutional Rights, Institute of the Black World, Presente.org, Students for Liberty, United We Dream, William C. Velasquez Institute, and the Working Families Organization – are notable for their diversity in cause and focus, yet this issue unites them all.

In their letter of support for new policies, the coalition states:

In recent weeks, the plight of the 52,000 unaccompanied children apprehended at the U.S. border since last October, many of whom are fleeing drug war violence in Central America, has permeated our national consciousness. The devastating consequences of the drug war have not only been felt in Latin America, they are also having ravaging effects here at home. All too often, children are on the frontlines of this misguided war that knows no borders or color lines.

The letter highlights how the drug war foments violence and destroys opportunities for livelihood in Latin America while, simultaneously in the U.S., mass incarceration driven by overly-punitive drug laws tears apart families and communities, leaving children – particularly children of color – vulnerable.

The letter ends:

In the face of this spiraling tragedy that continues to disproportionately consume the lives and futures of black and brown children, it is imperative to end the nefarious militarization and mass incarceration occurring in the name of the war on drugs. So often, repressive drug policies are touted as measures to protect the welfare of our children, but in reality, they do little more than serve as one great big Child Endangerment Act.

On behalf of the children, it is time to rethink the war on drugs.

“The quality of a society can and should be measured by how its most vulnerable are treated, beginning with our children,” said asha bandele of the Drug Policy Alliance, the organization that coordinated the letter. “Children have every right to expect that we will care for, love and nurture them into maturity. The drug war is among the policies that disrupts our responsibility to that calling.”

Full letter and list of supporters here: http://www.drugpolicy.org/resource/80-organizations-call-end-drug-war-or...

Contact: Hannah Hetzer (917) 701-7060 or Jeronimo Saldana (562) 644-8413

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