(press release from Students for Sensible Drug Policy)
About two dozen drug policy reform activists will embark on a 50-mile journey from Binghamton to Ithaca in upstate New York in the second annual "Skate for Justice" (http://www.skateforjustice.org) this Sunday, June 22.
Most of the participants are members of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (http://www.ssdp.org), an organization with chapters on over 200 college campuses nationwide. The skaters and bicycle support team will depart from Broome Community College (BCC) in Binghamton and make a 48.9-mile pilgrimage to the Commons in Ithaca. The purpose of the journey is to draw attention to the failings of current drug policy.
The event isn't just for fun. "First and foremost, it will raise awareness," said Justin Holmes, event organizer and point skater. "Hundreds or thousands of motorists will see us on the day of the event. We hope to use this exposure to draw attention to the problems of drug prohibition and begin the process of an open and honest dialogue about drug policy."
The event draws attention to injustices inherent in American drug policy by highlighting several specific issues. The controversy surrounding the so-called "Rockefeller drug laws" is one such issue. "These laws are so horribly draconian that prisons have filled up across the state in the years since they've been enacted," said Sean Nosky, event organizer and point skater. "Across the political spectrum, cries for reform can be heard, including from US Senators Hilary Clinton and Charles Schumer, US Congressman Charles Rangel, and several NY state Senators and Assemblypersons."
Another issue that participants aim to raise awareness about is the Higher Education Act drug provision, which denies federal financial aid to students with drug convictions of any kind. Other issues of interest include securing safe and legal access to medicine for medical marijuana patients, re-legalizing industrial hemp cultivation, and reducing the ratio of prison spending to higher education spending.
"The Skate for Justice is helping to redefine the 21st century drug policy activist," said Shawn Heller, national director of SSDP. "No longer will we allow ourselves to be misrepresented; whether it is a 50 mile skate or 50 letters to Congress, the youth of today are energized and ready to bring about a more just America."
A press conference with opportunities for interviews with organizers and participants (including Shawn Heller) will be held in the main student parking lot of Broome Community College at 9:00am prior to departure (large lot in the center of the map at http://www.sunybroome.edu/aboutbcc/campusmap.html).