November Coalition at the County Fair!
Phoenix, AZ - Special Report, April 2003
By Marcella Perrine, November Coalition
From April 9th to the 12th I managed a booth at the Maricopa County Fair in Phoenix, Arizona. I wanted to educate people on the suffering caused by our current drug war policy.
I met many people who already know about the injustice but feel helpless to do anything about it. A lot of people just didn't 'get' the whole booth idea. Some thought I was promoting drugs and their use. They were the ones that did what I called a "first run by" where they might say something like, "You take all the dealers out and cut their heads off! That's how you get rid of drugs."
A little girl looked at my razor wire pins, wondering aloud if she could have one. I asked her if she knew what they were for and she said, "Yes, my dad is in prison." I gave away more POWD pins than I sold. These all went to children. If we think we're not leaving a horrible legacy for our youth, then we are sadly mistaken. Children know all about drug war injustice.
Some of the vendors selling their wares did not like me being there. In fact, one vendor even moved his booth because he couldn't stand looking at the laminates. Another was first friendly until she found out what the booth was about, and yet another ran around on his golf cart telling others his opinion of it all. "Just do like they do in Singapore - cut their heads off. That would stop the war on drugs!" Some folks just habitually resist learning.
Most effective educational materials were the prisoner laminates from "The WALL" section of the November Coalition website. To all of you in prison who have thought of submitting your pictures and stories to November, please do. Making these stories available does have a steady impact and is one of the most effective ways to give you a voice to the electronic web of information.
The Reconsider literature (on drug education in schools) was extremely popular. It seems many teachers here in Arizona know just how corrupt and ineffectual the DARE Program has become. (See www.reconsider.org)
To all who advocate for November or other
reform groups, managing this booth at the County Fair was a great
way to get the message out. I have no regrets doing this and
plan on having two booths next year. - Marcella
Special Report: April, 2003
By Rachel Morton, regional leader
Thank you for the graphs. They are superb! I displayed them on a table at the protest with petitions and literature. The prisoners' stories were displayed across from the table with a huge sign saying, "Drug Abuse is Bad-the Drug War is Worse."
We had held signs up to passing traffic, and numerous cars honked and waved in support. We also had a table set and a display set up by a walkway to a Crafts Guild Show. Even though it was a small group of us vigiling, there were lots of people walking by the table and display (at least 2,000). Numerous passersby stopped to read the prisoners stories, and some signed the Petition for Relief. Many others looked at the graphs you sent, and some took literature.
Most important is that we were there, and many for the first time read the stories of the prisoners that were on display. It continuously amazes me that people know little, or nothing, about the mandatory minimum sentencing laws. This void in public knowledge reminds me why we need to be out there!
Thanks for your support and the wonderful
displays. - Rachel