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two female gang members
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June and Estell.
                                             Sisters of the Summit.
We are the mothers, the sisters, the wives. The girlfriends and the gang bangers. We have to stand beside you, not behind you if we are to grow together.
We must be equal participants. We must be able to speak up without being condemned or silenced. Our agenda is the same as yours.
There are issues between us, we cannot work through them in a loving way in front of cameras and lights.
As women, we have always known violence. It is gang banging and police brutality, but it is also domestic violence, rape, child abuse and poverty.
At the next summit, we must see more women. We have made a commitment to bring more women and we ask that you, our brothers, join us in that too.
We insist women are appropriately represented on any advisory group or board of directors developed out of this summit. We insist that the same commitment is made to include youth on the advisory group or board of directors.
Honoring our ancestors and elders is an important tradition in all our cultures. We must do this. But we must also recognize a time when adults must move out of the way. The youth are not the problem, they are the solution.
We believe that we must take time to really come together and know each other to be a resource to the community.
We have to make an extra effort to include youth from the host community.
We are our best resources. No amount of money in the world can accomplish what the strength, intelligence and love in this room can. We have to pool our skills. The most important issue is that we work together. We love and support you. Our effort is one.


Smoke and Mirrors: The War on Drugs and the Politics of Failure. 1997  By Dan Baum, review by Clare Regan Judicial Process Commission

Smoke and Mirrors traces the War on Drugs from its inception under President Nixon to the current battles raging under the Clinton administration. 175 interviewees who were responsible for the drug policy over the years show that the war wasn't about drugs but about politics. Untruths about the dangerousness of drugs were used to divert the publics mind from the failed social policies and scandals in the Republican and Democratic administrations.

Nixon was frustrated with the pot smoking, long haired hippies who were demonstrating against the war in Vietnam and were rejecting many of the values of their parents, the Blacks who had rioted in the 1960’s and the poor who were asking for a solution to some of their problems. A Nixon appointed commission studied and issued a report on the effects of Marijuana, “Marijuana: A signal of Misunderstanding,” that recommended its legalization. The adverse pharmacological properties had been greatly overblown, it was discovered. Instead of causing criminal behavior, it inhibited it. Nixon rejected the conclusion of the report. Cocaine use in 1972 was still reserved for the jet set and heroin addicts comprised less than one fourth of one percent of the population. People as diverse as Senators McGovern and Percy and Dr. Robert DuPont stated that heroin junkies stole property valued from $4.4 billion to $15 billion annually. The actual value of all property stolen in 1972 by anyone was $1.28 billion.

Baum mapped the advances in the War on Drugs from forfeiture laws, mandatory minimum sentences, to the court invalidation of previously protected civil rights. Even the US Supreme Court succumbed to drug hysteria. Many horror stories are recounted to illustrate the excesses of the Drug War. Police broke into houses, shot and killed innocent people. They trashed houses on the basis of unsubstantiated rumor, smashing furniture, tearing apart sofas and mattresses and emptying drawers looking for drugs. The police confiscated property of people who were never convicted of any crime and used the booty to strengthen their departments, enabling them to prey on other people, some innocent and others who possessed small amounts of illegal drugs.

The disparity of sentencing for possession of crack and powder cocaine (a mandatory five year sentence for five grams of crack and possible probation for 50 grams of powder cocaine) fell heaviest on Blacks who were less likely to use the powder. Although 52% of crack users are white, only 4 % of those sentenced. The federal prison population has soared to over 100,000 with 60% of the prisoners convicted of drug crimes. Billions of dollars ($120 billion during the Bush years alone) are spent on the War on Drugs, more than on private health care insurance. Under the Clinton, more was spent fighting drugs than on the budgets of the Commerce, State, and Interior Department combined. More importantly, millions of lives have unnecessarily been ruined. The prison population swells as money for education, job training and health care declines. The poor continue to be scapegoats for political gain.