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From the desk of Tom Murlowski

Petitions, Projects and Campaigns

In addition to publishing The Razor Wire newspaper periodically, producing brochures, displays and keeping pertinent news and resources online, our plans and evaluations for the future begin with feedback from our members. We translate many types of communications into improved public education materials. Your input is critical.

Our challenge, as more legislative support for prisoner release and enforcement reform becomes apparent, is to teach more people to be leaders for other citizens to work with locally. Good elected leaders need the support of their local community. That is where the votes to keep them office, and give them more power in office, come from. If a leader doesn't have to fear backlash and criticisms from their own community, and their citizens are behind them on a particular issue -- they can be more vocal in Congress. Perhaps it's a mayor you have in mind; if citizens are behind them, it makes leadership work.

The same formula works to deal with bad leaders. Community support for reform should support good candidates who can defeat leaders that further injustice with bad law.

To make some educational materials widely available and accessible, so that community education remains current and interesting, during summer 2003 we re-designed and expanded our websites at:

Thanks goes to MAPInc, aka DrugSense (,who provide us with a continuous news feed that gives visitors daily news updates on subjects our members want to follow closely. Visitors to our websites have easy access to the following projects and campaigns in progress today.

Bottoms Up: Guide to Grassroots Activism - A comprehensive, step-by-step primer on how to educate the public to get the social change we want. When Chuck and Nora returned from the Journey For Justice that ended in spring, we took what we learned collectively during the experience, and compiled a guide that helps people do the work of organizing and activism in their community.

Useful for beginning and seasoned organizers, this how-to manual covers topics such as Organizing a Public Event or Private Meeting with Officials, Designing Flyers and Posters, Working with Others, Leading a Demonstration, progressing to Building a Relationship with the Media and Elected Officials.

Also included is a generous sampling of artwork, press release examples, educational literature, studies and reports, graphs and displays to share with the public, meeting forms, and other resources for organizers of different levels of skill. Educational Supplies include banners, posters, brochures, full displays and periodicals.

The November Coalition offers a variety of materials for public education, vigils, and meetings. Contact our office or visit our websites for details of what is offered.

A noteworthy, continuing Coalition educational campaign is the National Vigil Project, a plan created four years ago to encourage regular drug war vigils throughout the nation. Regular public vigils throughout 1999 and into year 2000 built up interest in a 2 Million Too Many national event, a coordinated series of demonstrations, vigils, press exposure and other actions calling attention to the 2 million prisoners in America in custody as of February 15, 2000. Today, these vigils continue under coordination of local volunteers and alliances with other groups. If you need posters for vigils, an educational display, or other materials I'm the guy you can ask. Write or call our office; online, I can be reached at:

The Petition for Relief from Drug War Injustice, launched spring of 2002, continues a tradition of direct, grassroots organizing that relies on a nationwide base of volunteers. Noting the failure of current sentencing policy, the Petition for Relief asks for a return to federal parole and/or a significant increase in good-time eligibility. The Coalition has committed to continue this effort until significant, broad sentencing relief is signed into law. Almost 50,000 signatures have been collected, with more coming in every day (see state-by-state breakdown here). The objectives of The Petition for Relief Campaign are to:

  • Build public and governmental support for a return to Federal parole and/or early release plan for US Federal prisoners.
  • Provide an infrastructure connecting like-minded citizens to each other
  • Assist others willing to educate friends, family and associates about the danger of the escalating war on drugs.
  • Teach the work of organizing to citizens who seek to change their circumstances
  • Demonstrate our "Right to Petition" as a basic and fundamental right to address grievances in a free society.

Four That Got Away - A graphic expose of the hypocrisy of the drug war, featuring a comparison of four political figures (life-sized or posters) who are also acknowledged illegal drug users.

These laminated images are Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, Vice-President Al Gore, and past Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. For teaching by contrast, we include a selection of drug war prisoners sentenced to years and decades in prison. If you, or a group you belong to, would like to have a Four That Got Away display and/or brochures, visit, call or write our office today.

Open The Can: A CANpaign for Freedom - continues to raise public awareness about the injustice of current United States' sentencing laws, and teaches how failed policies have created overcrowded human warehouses. There's something fishy about the war on drugs is the message. It's printed on T-shirts, and labels that can be applied to standard sardine cans and go directly through the mail educating all who handle it on the way to your intended recipient.

All of this is the result of hundreds of interactions among prisoners, family members of prisoners, advisers, media colleagues handled by our small home office staff. Please get in touch with our office if you have questions, comments and suggestions for present or future, coordinated November Coalition activism.

The Journey for Justice, launched Autumn 2002, has already reached many areas of the United States, and has logged almost 25,000 miles thus far. Events on the schedule have included college forums, neighborhood meetings, vigils, marches, discussions with officials, media interviews, church presentations, private meetings, debates, potlucks and more.

Journey for Justice springs from the extreme need and aspirations of thousands of drug war prisoners and their loved ones victimized by unjust drug and sentencing laws. We journey for justice to fortify resolve and awaken the dignity of ordinary people assaulted daily by a drug war that isn't a war on drugs -- but a war on people.

As our team travels the country, grassroots activists and community leaders gather to voice their concerns about the war on drugs. Journey for Justice events include meetings large and small, in urban areas and small towns. In public and private forums, we introduce others to the people behind the statistics that rank the USA as world's leading jailer.

We are inviting our friends and supporters to a picnic in the park, a teach-in at your local college, a civics club presentation, a breakfast or informal potluck with your close friends and family. Join activists, volunteers and other groups nationwide who are building a 'from the bottom up' movement that will assist leaders and policy makers in ending drug war injustice.

Many people share the notion that there is real power to end the US Drug War residing in common, ordinary people. Opinion makers and leaders insist they need grassroots' support to affect change, and ordinary people respond to leaders in the US Congress willing to turn that support into reform legislation. As the rhyme goes, it 'takes two' to make this process true.

Local organizers are people like you -- citizens who recognize that it is a disgrace that the United States allows so many people to be warehoused in prison for non-violent drug offenses. The problems associated with illegal drugs need sensible solutions.

A tour of the northwest will take place in February and March, 2004. Please visit the website at to register as a journey volunteer and watch the progress of emerging schedules.

PAFOI! is an emerging project to complement the Journey for Justice. Putting a Face On It will cover the expense of transforming a typical motorhome into a display on wheels! Wherever we journey, we intend that November Coalition Faces and Message are viewed by the public. To designate a special donation for this project, please write 'PAFOI' in the memo line of your check or money order, along with the amount you would like to designate to this special project.

The latest addition to our web site is our expanded Federal Parole section, including our Petition for Relief, current and past legislation concerning early release, and several proposals for early release submitted by prisoners.

Brochures, books, graphs, posters, banners, t-shirts, projects and more . . .

We have supplies for you!
Visit our Activist Supplies Web Page today!

Working to end drug war injustice

Meet the People Behind The U.S. Sentencing Guidelines

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