I'm A Citizen Activist

By Nora Callahan

With my brother well into serving his 27-year sentence in prison on a drug conspiracy conviction, it took me awhile to grasp firmly why I had to talk to others about the inhumanity of the drug war. The decision was tied to my innermost thoughts, and so, I began to talk first to my friends and family.

Nora Speaking at Launcing of Journey for Justice, Detroit MI
Journey for Justice: Detroit, MI 2002
Most people could listen to a different way of seeing the problems of drug use, abuse and addiction, and shared my opinions about the overuse of informants to secure convictions, and corruption of official institutions. They listened when I spoke of the hypocrisy of one class of people getting drug treatment options, while another class of people is herded off to prisons to be warehoused in idleness, or toil in prison factories.

People, ordinary folks in all walks of life also could see that the quantity of all drugs, and the profits from legal and illegal drugs weren't decreasing. I began talking about drugs, and the war on some drugs.

I realize today that I was an activist long before I thought of myself as "an activist." You might be considering taking your own activist inclination to the 'next step.' Our staff and volunteers have compiled Bottoms Up: Guide to Grassroots Activism, to help you do that. If you have comments or suggestions, please feel free to contact us!

We are looking for individuals and groups who will commit to learning how to organize in their regions. We seek citizens who can volunteer to work with established leaders in, or near their home towns, eventually being able to know and work with people throughout their state and nationally, too.

You can have a multitude of talents and possibilities, or be a beaten down grandmother with an extended family, and concerned friends. Let's find a way to work together.

The strategic goal of our organizing is to engage many citizens in grassroots activism. It's common knowledge when people work cooperatively, our collective energy can become a powerful political force. Your decision to be 'part of the solution' means it's time to figure out "how." Problems as large and complex as what to do about failed drug policy are never solved without lots of people working diligently on experiments and solutions.

Many of us want systems of earned, early release in federal and state prisons, and drug war injustice and selective enforcement brought to light.