Laguna Beach rallies against Drug War
By Rachel Morton, November Coalition activist
16, 2004 I took our issues and supporters to the streets of Laguna
Beach (CA). I gave two cable TV interviews and a local newspaper
interview because of the prisoners' stories that were displayed,
and I spoke particularly about Rudy Howell's case to demonstrate
the corruption, lunacy and brutality of sentencing laws and policies.
It felt good to have Rudy's poster right there to show a real
person with his mother, emphasizing his humanity despite the
injustice of the drug laws
I handed out a one-page flyer listing drug
war facts and November Coalition's website. LOTS of people showed
up for the protest and vigil.
Orange County (CA) NORML had contacted
a band named 'Marijuana,' and apparently they ran an ad in a
local newspaper or magazine "promising free herb" at
the protest. So in addition to the 50 - 60 people who showed
up, there were 5 police cars with 10 officers attending and surrounding
us for the first hour. A police helicopter flew overhead, hoping,
I suppose, to spot the elusive, promised pot, which came to naught.
We had lots of signs, handouts, and a drum
circle with great passion and enthusiasm. At least a thousand
people walked by during the 3 hours of the protest, and many
stopped to talk to the medical marijuana advocates, while others
spoke with me about the drug war's catastrophic outcomes to people
and the environment. We stood near a major street, Pacific Coast
Highway, and cars drove by with passengers waving and cheering
because we were there.
Finally, it was GREAT to have Judge James
Gray at the protest; he openly opposes the Drug War, has written
about it, and competed vigorously for a US Senate seat against
incumbent Barbara Boxer. Thanks to all attendees for making this
public event into a strong show of diverse support for ending
failed US national drug policy.
For more on Rachel's activism, Click Here.
More than a Blue Moon to me
By Rachel Morton
The Homeland Security officer at the airport
took my bag and after performing one chemical test asked, "Have
you been handling ammunition?" What a curious question,
I thought, after such an interesting weekend in northeastern
I was on my way home from visiting the
new headquarters for November Coalition in Colville, Washington
after participating in a workshop there on the weekend of the
'blue moon,' July 30-31, the second full moon in the month.
Perhaps my semi-comatose demeanor from
lack of sleep aroused suspicion. I hadn't slept that night because
I had to leave Colville at 3 a.m. to catch an early flight from
Spokane to my home in California.
More sinister thoughts popped up. Could
the Homeland officers have known that I had been with people
from around the U.S. who actively oppose the murderous War on
Drugs? Did the officers see me as 'one of those people' who would
open up the prison doors, let the people come inside, and demand
an effective sentencing and early-release system for those nonviolent
individuals - drug law violators mainly - who are ordered into
Speaking of ammunition, what better ammo
do we have than organizing, planning and implementing public
actions for the majority of us who oppose injustice? I was about
to say, "We are the ammunition to fight the never-satisfied
boosters of our sprawling prison-industrial system!" But
"No, I have not been handling ammunition," I answered
quietly to the Homeland officer who had taken my ID and airline
ticket for entry into their 'explosives log.'
The officer then explained that my bag
had tested positive for TNT.
"Do you use hand lotion," I was
then asked. Of course, and how was I to know that hand lotions
often contain chemicals that when tested are the same as those
found in TNT? I got home okay, with lots of new thought.
Mostly, what I do know is that truth is still the baddest weapon.
We have the Blakely decision, an explosion in the judiciary.
We are aiming at earned, early release for our loved ones behind
bars. That July weekend was more than a Blue Moon to me - it
taught me to shop carefully for hand lotion.