Editorial: Set Our People Free 7/14/00

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David Borden, Executive Director, [email protected]

Amy Pofahl. Serena Nunn. Louise House. Shawndra Mills. Alain Orozco.

The freeing of these few, late on a Friday, summer afternoon, is a powerful reminder that drug law reform is more than an academic debate over political philosophy or "balanced approaches" or "policy." Changing the drug laws is a moral imperative, even a crusade, an urgent struggle for freedom for 400,000 whose imprisonment is unneeded and unjust.

Will this token gesture presage a larger exodus? It would be uncharacteristic of all but a small handful of US politicians to willingly concede the lives of their oppressed and the fodder that their blood and bondage provides in campaign rhetoric and contributions from the drug war's special interests.

Rather, it will take a demand, an indictment of a cruel and corrupt system, to bring change. It will take citizens, activists, opinion leaders crying out, calling for reason and an end to the failed mass incarceration program. It will take all of our efforts here, and the efforts of many others, to bring about the Jubilee Justice.

Yet those efforts cannot be shirked and must not fail, for true justice is tempered with mercy, yet the drug war is built on neither justice nor mercy. And just as the parents and children across our country for whom the drug war is ostensibly waged are "our people," deserving to live in safety and health, so too are those languishing behind bars our people -- whether innocent like Amy Pofahl or Dorothy Gaines, or guilty by the letter of the law, but unjustly punished, like many others -- and it is time to set our people free.

Kemba Smith. Charles Garrett. Dorothy Gaines. Todd McCormick. Will Foster.

They and countless others wait to follow Amy and Serena and the others who walked free on a late Friday, summer afternoon. The door has been opened a crack; let us proceed to tear down the wall.

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Issue #145, 7/14/00 Clinton Grants Commutations to Five Federal Drug War Prisoners, Four Women, One Man Go Free, 90,000 Remain Behind Bars on Federal Drug Charges | SET THEM FREE: What You Can Do to Help the Jubilee and Related Campaigns | "Mad Mark" or "Sour Souder?" Indiana Congressman Introduces Bill to Preempt State Level Drug Law Reforms | Asset Forfeiture: Florida Task Force So Out of Control Even the Feds are Embarrassed | District of Columbia: City Council Leaps Backward, Heightens Marijuana Penalties | Jamaica Church Leaders Say "Legalize It" | Portugal Decriminalizes Drug Use and Possession, Prescription Heroin and Injection Rooms Coming Next? | Michigan Initiative Effort Fails to Obtain Necessary Signatures | Drug Czar Seeks Deal With Hollywood to Include Anti-Drug Messages in Films | FBI's New Toy Spies on E-Mail, Has Bob Barr Frightened | AlertS: Mandatory Minimums, Free Speech, California, New York, Washington State | HEA Campaign | Event Calendar | Attorney Position Opening at ACLU National Drug Policy Litigation Project | Editorial: Set Our People Free
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