Be the Media!

Multimedia presentations can illuminate complex issues to a diverse audience. Multimedia is a term that sounds more complex than it is.

Show a film documentary

Through the years, the November Coalition volunteers and network have found video documentaries a great way to educate others and stimulate new conversations about what should replace the war on drugs.

You might not know it, but most documentaries are about subjects in the shadows, and people imprisoned and their loved ones are in the shadows of many issues of the day. Advocacy groups holding advance screenings and publicizing these films, is often the only way the work receives any public attention. You can help a documentary become popular and available for home rental, and air on cable or network TV. Showing the best of educational media is another way to move our issue to the public’s notice.

Up The Ridge Screening and Discussion: Spokane, WA 2008
Follow directions in Public Discussion to plan one, except you’ll be showing a documentary and moderate a follow-up discussion. Sometimes a film can run 90 minutes, leaving little time for dialogue. Take film length into consideration.

Use the Contact Us link to request supplies -- we can make the following videos available to your group, one a current release and one a documentary 'classic':

Up the Ridge, a US Prison Story is a documentary produced by Nick Szuberla and Amelia Kirby. In 1999, Szuberla and Kirby were volunteer DJ’s for the Appalachian region’s only hip-hop radio program in Whitesburg, KY when they received hundreds of letters from prisoners transferred into nearby Wallens Ridge State Prison, the newest prison built to prop up the region’s sagging coal economy. Up the Ridge explores competing political agendas that align government policy with human rights violations, and political expediencies that bring communities into racial and cultural conflict with tragic consequences. (60 minutes)

Snitch, a 1999 documentary classic by award winning producer Ofra Bikel that investigates how a fundamental shift in the country's anti-drug laws -- including federal mandatory minimum sentencing and conspiracy provisions -- has bred a culture of snitching that's in many cases rewarding the guiltiest and punishing the less guilty. (90 minutes)

Create a video short

Within your group you're likely to meet someone who has tinkered with video and photographs: creating short videos of vacations, trips to the beach and holidays. Think about creating video shorts that teach about your group, its mission, political objectives and more about the issues. There are popular places online where creative video shorts can garner lots of public attention. YouTube, Google, and Yahoo are three of dozens of popular places where video creations can be uploaded.

A memorial to Isidro Aviles by/with November Coalition Members in Windows or Quicktime

Life in Prison, for David Correa

Make a website

Social networking websites offer another way your group can publicize local events, share projects and attract more members. Myspace, Facebook, Blogger are three of hundreds of Internet possibilities that allow individuals and groups to have a presence online without any cost. With only a little computer skills, one volunteer, or small team, manage communications expertly with little effort.

Drug War Prisoner Tyrone Brown

Through one of the first social media sites, MySpace, Tyrone Brown supporters were able to help November Coalition keep the public notified as citizens rallied nationwide for Ty's release. It worked!

Eugene Fisher's family and friends support his efforts to educate through Freedom’s Cry Foundation. He was serving life, but now is home.

David Correa's family and friends manage the website called Save Dave, and once serving life without possibility of parole, he was released late summer of 2015.

Beth Curtis, sister of marijuana lifer, John Knock created a website called, Life for Pot, she’s not given up hope and looks forward to the day her brother is released.

After Amy Povah’s release from prison through presidential commutation, she began the organization, CAN Do, Justice Through Clemency.

And don’t forget Facebook, friends. Michele West’s family and friends are at Free Michelle West. It’s easy and free!

Talk Radio

Be a guest or regular listener and person who calls to comment on talk radio shows. If a talk show host is discussing taxes, call to complain about your tax dollars wasted in a futile war against drugs, a war wherein the police, courts and prisons fuel the conflict.

If you have a loved one imprisoned, learn to give the background of your personal experience of injustice in a sentence or two. Don't try to detail a legal case on radio or any short media interview.

Nora Callahan has learned to say, "My brother was charged and imprisoned in 1989 for a drug conspiracy and sentenced to 27 years in federal prison. There was no evidence, just the word of those who traded testimony against my brother for their freedom." From there you can discuss aspects of drug war injustice, and the audience knows how you are connected to the issue.


Podcasting is another way that a small or large group of people can communicate publicly. According to Wikki, “A podcast is a collection of digital media files which is distributed over the Internet, often using syndication feeds, for playback on portable media players and personal computers. The term podcast, like "radio", can refer either to the content itself or to the method by which it is syndicated; the latter is also termed podcasting. The host or author of a podcast is often called a podcaster.

Do a websearch: podcast drug war activism, or podcast drug war and listen to some samples of homegrown media. YouTube, Google and iTunes have podcast and other broadcasts, too.


How about a theatrical presentation? Some groups are writing, performing, sharing plays and small skits. There are scripts available that can be modified to suit your group.

Set Up To Fail Performance Gonzaga Law: Spokane, WA 2007
Set Up To Fail is a one-hour (or 30 minute) play depicting the gritty reality of day-to-day prison life. Performed by Willie Robinson, written and narrated by Lea Zengage. See the video here: Windows (Larger); Window Media (Smaller); Quicktime or read the Set Up To Fail script.

Remember, you can be the media!