Press Release

AFROPUNK and the Drug Policy Alliance Join Forces in Atlanta October 13th-15th

AFROPUNK Atlanta Festival and DPA’s 2017 International Drug Policy Reform Conference Will Overlap and Co-Sponsor Events Together


Tony Newman 646-335-5384
Tommy McDonald 510-338-8827

The Drug Policy Alliance and AFROPUNK have teamed up this year to collectively unite our voices and say, “No More Drug War!” AFROPUNK’s Atlanta festival will be taking place the same weekend (October 14th – 15th) as DPA’s 2017 International Drug Policy Reform Conference.

“Those of us who have worked at the intersection of arts and activism for a generation know deeply that often the most effective way to move people, as Audre Lorde said, from silence to language and action, is through music, dance, paintings and poetry,” said asha bandele, award-winning author and a senior director at Drug Policy Alliance. “It’s why authoritarian regimes move to take over media and censor the artists when they don’t outright kill us. Given the times we are living in under the Trump administration, this collaboration with AFROPUNK couldn’t be more critical.”

On Friday October 13th at 7:30pm, DPA and AFROPUNK will co-host a Town Hall at DPA’s Reform Conference with leading experts, religious leaders, and Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors: “The Case for Reparations: After 50 Years of the Drug War and Mass Incarceration, What Does America Owe Us?” People working to reform our country’s drug policies are increasingly undertaking their work using a reparative justice lens.

“If we are truly committed to ending the drug war and the carceral state, reparations are pivotal,” said bandele. “It is not enough to simply end our destructive drug laws. There is a moral responsibility to make amends for the multi-generational devastation wrought by the drug war and mass incarceration.”

On Saturday, October 14th starting at Noon AFROPUNK and DPA will co-sponsor Saturday’s Solution Sessions at the AFROPUNK Atlanta festival: “WE THE PEOPLE: Decriminalizing Blackness,” which will explore mass incarceration, the war on drugs, criminal justice reform, profiling, and civil & criminal rights. This curated talk will feature dynamic speakers and personalities addressing audiences on a myriad of topics, issues, and concepts that are solution-based. For more info:

Below is a statement from AFROPUNK:

AFROPUNK is the microphone of thought and a lens of perspective committed to redefining the modern multicultural experience globally. Our partnership with the Drug Policy Alliance allows us to support their vital work in changing the narrative and detrimental policies & drug laws fueling the mass incarceration crisis directly impacting our communities today.

Other Reform Conference highlights include:

  • Michelle Alexander, author of the bestseller The New Jim Crow, will kick off the conference Thursday morning with a talk at the opening plenary about the war on drugs, mass incarceration and criminal justice.
  • Thursday evening, there will be a 500-person candlelight vigil at the Center for Civil and Human Rights, honoring lives that have been lost in the war on drugs.
  • Throughout the conference, a community art space and exhibition with a multimedia installation curated by DPA’s Tony Papa will be open to the public. The installation will also provide a space where conference participants can create art and display their work to tell their personal stories.