Martin Luther King Jr. Day: A Call To Action
Martin Luther King Jr. Day – A Call To Action
I am celebrating this Martin Luther King Jr. Day by joining my voice with the chorus who recognize the “War on Drugs” is a racist construct that must be concluded. Our decades-old war on drugs is a racist conspiracy. It was designed to unfairly incarcerate blacks to profit government agencies and corporate America. In an article in the Huffington Post, Dylan Ratigan and Russell Simmons wrote,
“A Federal law passed in 1986 allowed law enforcement agencies to seize drug money, and use it to supplement their budgets. Grabbing cash connected to drugs meant that police departments could buy more tools and training. Like the fee-for-service model in medicine, that pays doctors for performing procedures, not for making people healthier, the “forfeiture laws” effectively pay the police departments for making busts – not for reducing the drug trade.”
The Statistics Prove The Need To End The War on Drugs
These statistics compiled by New York Timescolumnist Charles Blow and author Michelle Alexander (author of The New Jim Crow) are mind-blowing.
- Since 1971, there have been more than 40 million arrests for drug-related offenses. Even though blacks and whites have similar levels of drug use, blacks are ten times as likely to be incarcerated for drug crimes.
- “There are more blacks under correctional control today — in prison or jail, on probation or parole — than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.”
- “As of 2004, more African American men were disenfranchised (due to felon disenfranchisement laws) than in 1870. That was the year the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified. It prohibited laws that explicitly deny the right to vote on the basis of race. In 2005, 4 out of 5 drug arrests were for possession not trafficking. 80% of the increase in drug arrests in the 1990s was for marijuana.
- There are 50,000 arrests for low-level pot possession a year in New York City. They represent one out of every seven cases that turn up in criminal courts. Most of these arrested are black and hispanic men.
While we celebrate how far we have come, we should also use the memory of Dr. King to take a stand against injustice wherever we find it. I urge you to join me in opposing the War on Drugs. End the privatization of our prisons for the profit of wall street traded corporations. Forever stop the over-incarceration of our citizens.
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