Newsbrief: Hip-Hop Summit Action Network Pulls Out of NYC GOP Anti-Drug War March, Broader Event Will Go On Instead 8/27/04

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The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network ( announced Wednesday that it was pulling out of a march to the site of the Republican Convention on Monday to demand reform of New York's draconian Rockefeller drug laws and an end to mandatory minimum sentences nationwide. Although the group, led by hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons and veteran civil rights activist Benjamin Chavis Muhammad, had announced plans for the march four months ago, it said Wednesday that the mass march it had planned is "not now feasible."

The group, which has been active registering voters at Hip-Hop Summits across the country, most recently in St. Louis, cited security concerns and the repressive atmosphere in New York, as well as scheduling conflicts. "Regrettably, due to increased security measures and safety concerns around the Republican National Convention and the timing of the MTV Video Music Awards in Miami where a number of the leading hip-hop artists will be, the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network has decided not to participate in the March on New York," HSAN said Wednesday.

But a march incorporating drug reform themes will go on at the place and time scheduled for HSAN's march and rally. Before pulling out of the march completely, HSAN had found out that another coalition, Still We Rise (, wanted the same day and location for its march, and had decided to work with that coalition. Still We Rise represents a variety of organizations of the downtrodden -- "people living in poverty, living with HIV/AIDS, at risk of infection, the unhoused and homeless, immigrants, individuals and families receiving public assistance, and those who have a history of incarceration" -- and is calling for an end to "ill-conceived" social and economic policies that "devastate our families and communities," including the war on drugs.

The march, which after arduous negotiations has obtained the necessary police permits, begins Monday at noon at Union Square, proceeds to the Republican Convention at Madison Square Garden for a 2:00pm rally, then decamps to St. Marks Church for a "post-rally party."

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Issue #351, 8/27/04 Editorial: Prohibition Itself Must Go | Timely Intervention Helps Block Student Drug Testing: The Case of Oregon's Lebanon Community School District | Arkansas Medical Marijuana Initiative Hands in More Signatures, Drive to Make Ballot Still Alive | Two Web Sites Now Online Are Naming Names and Seeking Info on Narcs and Snitches | Newsbrief: No Criminal Charges Against Cops in Goose Creek High School Raid | Newsbrief: Baltimore Needle Exchange Hailed on Tenth Anniversary | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story | Newsbrief: Virginia Judge Jails Woman for Taking Prescription Methadone | Newsbrief: Minneapolis City Council Rejects Medical Marijuana Initiative | Newsbrief: Seattle Hempfest Endorses Kerry | Newsbrief: DPA Reaches Out to GOP Conventioneers | Newsbrief: Hip-Hop Summit Action Network Pulls Out of NYC GOP Anti-Drug War March, Broader Event Will Go On Instead | Online Petition on Marc Emery and Canadian Marijuana Law Reform | Keith Cylar Activist Fund | Media Scan: Kunstler Rockefeller Video, Counterpunch | This Week in History | The Reformer's Calendar

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