Press Release

Connecting the Dots: Where the Drug Policy Reform and the #BlackLivesMatter Movements Intersect

Thursday, November 19: International Drug Policy Reform Conference to Feature Town Hall Meeting Featuring BLM Co-Founder Patrisse Cullors and Leading Drug Policy Reform Activists

Press and Public Not in Attendance Can Listen in by Phone: click here to RSVP

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<p>Tony Newman (646)335-5384<br />
Tommy McDonald (510)338-8827</p>

The drug war is a primary source of funding for the tanks in towns like Ferguson, the over-policing in New York City and the unprecedented discretion given to police officers to criminalize Black people.  With the meteoric rise of the Movement for Black Lives and the growing movement for broader drug policy reform, what are the essential questions that drug policy reformers must ask themselves about Black lives? And how can we join forces to course correct and create a world where all our communities can thrive?

These questions and many more will be explored at a live town hall as part of the International Drug Policy Reform Conference, hosted by the Drug Policy Alliance in the Washington, D.C. area from Nov. 18-21, 2015. The conference brings together more than 1200 leading international experts, treatment providers, researchers, policymakers and key activists at the leading global forum on drug policy reform.

“From the way we are policed to disparities in sentencing and healthcare options, to the rates of poverty exacerbated unconscionably during Generation Incarceration, no community in the U.S. has been more disrupted by the failed drug war than the Black community,” said asha bandele, advocacy grants director for the Drug Policy Alliance.  “Our understanding, then, of the intersection of our work with the essential principles of the movement for Black lives, will be defining as we seek to deepen and broaden our reach toward and understanding of, the community most directly impacted by this nation’s failed policies and approaches toward drugs and criminalization.”


  • asha bandele, Director, Advocacy Grants Program, Drug Policy Alliance, New York, NY (Moderator)
  • Darian Agostini, Youth Leader, Make the Road NY, Brooklyn, NY
  • Lumumba Bandele, Senior Organizer, NAACP LDF, New York, NY
  • Patrisse Marie Cullors, Co-Founder, Black Lives Matter, Los Angeles, CA
  • Kassandra Frederique, Director, New York Policy Office, Drug Policy Alliance, New York, NY
  • Deborah Small, Founder and ED, Break the Chains, Richmond, CA

Where: Crystal Gateway Marriott, Arlington, VA (Salon B)

When: 7pm, Thursday, November 19

How: Please click here to RSVP. Space is limited. Please secure your registration now.

Drug Policy Alliance Fact Sheet: The Drug War, Mass Incarceration, and Race

Race and the Drug War