DRUG POLICY FORUM OF TEXAS
1425 Blalock Road, Suite 109 / Houston, TX 77055
In Houston phone (713) 784-3196, from elsewhere 1-888-511-DPFT
Seeking to establish a forum where policy alternatives to the war on drugs can be discussed by academicians, policy analysts, public office holders, and other interested citizens. Serving the public by providing information and expert opinion about legal and illegal drugs and the issues surrounding them.
MEDIA ADVISORY – For September 20 to 29, 2000
To: Assignment Editors
Contact: G. Alan Robison 713-784-3196
or Kevin Aplin with the Journey for Justice at 321-258-6857
Whistle Stop Tour of Texas to Call for Cease-Fire in the War On Drugs
“Journey for Justice” to Highlight Texas’ Record Number of Non-Violent Prisoners
The Journey for Justice, a caravan of family members of drug war prisoners, medical marijuana patients and other citizens interested in drug policy reform will travel through central Texas from September 22 through 29th. The tour will include vigils, street theater and rallies at key locations to highlight various aspects of America’s failed war on drugs.
While presidential candidates George W. Bush and Al Gore are doing whistle stop tours of their own, advocates of drug law reform will be talking about the issues the candidates refuse to face. Among these are the hypocrisy of the drug war, the erosion of civil liberties and the massive government spending associated with drug prohibition. The Journey will seek to break the candidates’ silence on alternatives to punitive policies.
Local critics of the drug war will be joined by people from around the country for a weeklong march to call for a cease-fire in the war on drugs, which some politicians are now referring to as a war on people. According to a recent Bureau of Justice Statistics report, Texas now leads the nation in imprisoning its citizens. The Journey will make presidential style whistle stops, beginning in Houston and ending at the Capitol in Austin.
The roving caravan will be a moving theatre. Costumed “prisoners” and “police” will dramatize the abuses by guards and law enforcement, as a patient in a wheelchair rides in a moving prison cell. The caravan becomes a visually stirring portrayal of the issues affecting American families. The goal will be to highlight three critical aspects of the drug war:
“The Journey is taking place in Texas because Texas highlights much that is wrong with U.S. drug policy,” noted Kevin Zeese, President of Common Sense for Drug Policy. “The state recently became the nation’s incarceration leader and 21 % of the Texas prison inmates are non-violent drug offenders.”
Press conferences will be held:
Friday, September 22nd at 12:30 pm at Tranquility Park in Houston (near the Smith and Rusk entrance) – Marchers will parade through Houston starting at the Harris County Criminal Justice Center, one purpose being to call attention to the racial disparity of the drug war. Harris County’s population is 18.2 % black, yet blacks make up over 60% of all drug arrests. Kevin Zeese, who recently testified to this effect before the Congressional Black Caucus, will also participate in the Houston press conference.
Sunday, September 24th at 3:00 pm at the Federal Women’s Correctional Facility on Ursiline Road in Bryan – This year the U.S. prison population reached the 2 million mark, making us the world leader. The Journey will stand at the Female Correctional Facility as women make up the fastest growing segment of the prison population. An afternoon vigil is scheduled to coincide with other prison vigils taking place elsewhere around the country.
Friday, September 29th at 12 noon on the south steps of the Capitol Building in Austin – People from around the country will be joining the final miles at the conclusion of the march. Hundreds are expected to fill the streets of Austin – concluding at the Governor’s mansion at 4:00 PM – demanding an end to the devastating impact of the drug war on American families.
The Journey encourages everyone to ask tough questions of all the candidates on drug policy issues. “While public officials admit to and the media jokes about ‘youthful indiscretions,’ thousands of Americans who are now imprisoned have lost property, the right to vote and have been fired from their jobs,” said Journey Director Kay Lee. “To them this is no joke.”
“The drug war has damaged and destroyed millions of Americans, the credibility of our representatives, and the future of our children,” Lee continued.
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G. Alan Robison
Drug Policy Forum of Texas
713-784-3196; FAX 713-784-0283
Webmaster: Art Smart
Latest Revision 18-Sep-00