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March 2007
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The War on Drugs’ War on Minorities

In today’s Los Angeles Times is a blistering OpEd by Arianna Huffington

Democratic presidential candidates crave the Latino and black vote, but ignore the Drug War’s unfair toll on people of color. […]
The silence coming from Clinton and Obama is particularly deafening.
Obama has written eloquently about his own struggle with drugs but has not addressed the tragic effect the war on drugs is having on African American communities.
As for Clinton, she flew into Selma, Ala., to reinforce her image as the wife of the black community’s most beloved politician and has made much of her plan to attract female voters, but she has ignored the suffering of poor, black women right in her own backyard. […]
Avoidance of this issue comes at a very stiff price (and not just the more than $50 billion a year we’re spending on the failed drug war). The toll is paid in shattered families, devastated inner cities and wasted lives (with no apologies for using that term). […]
Maybe the president will suddenly wake up and decide to take on the issue five days before he leaves office. That’s what Bill Clinton did, writing a 2001 New York Times Op-Ed article in which he trumpeted the need to “immediately reduce the disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentences” ÷ conveniently ignoring the fact that he had the power to solve it for eight years and did nothing. […]
A 2000 study found that 1.4 million African American men ÷ 13% of the total black male population ÷ were unable to vote in the 2000 election because of state laws barring felons access to the polls. In Florida, one in three black men is permanently disqualified from voting. Think that might have made a difference in the 2000 race? Our shortsighted drug laws have become the 21st century manifestation of Jim Crow.
Shouldn’t this be an issue Democratic presidential candidates deem worthy of their attention?

Really powerful stuff. Read the whole thing. Print it out and mail it to the Presidential candidates.

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