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Untitled Document

Director's Message

By Nora Callahan, Executive Director, November Coalition

Dear Friends and Members of the November Coalition,

Hope you have enjoyed this issue of the Razor Wire. To keep them coming regularly, the November Coalition must have supportive members. Like you, we see movements grow and divide, new groups form and work alone, and everybody is asking for a membership donation. We understand the math of scarce resources, even while we embrace and nurture new groups, even while attention is divided among groups.

Just don't forget that since 1997 we have been in your corner, too!

Talk to friends and family, and help build our membership - the tried and true way we can ensure regular communication, link lives and become a mighty force for change. Support our work the best you can. To those prisoners who ask if they can send postage stamps: We do accept them.

We are preparing for an historic day in Washington, DC on August 13, 2005, joining with Roberta Franklin and "Family Members and Friends of People Incarcerated," along with more than 100 other social justice groups, beginning August 12th at a Friday evening reception. Many of you have done a fine job of spreading the word - we are hearing about the March every day! People are very excited, with some city activists chartering buses, and organizers expecting a turnout to match the 'historical numbers' projected months ago.

Why this year? Mostly, it's the maturing, the readiness, of many people who learned that to change law we have to first challenge it. In the courts, in the press, with our friends and associates, at public vigils - we challenge the status quo of drug war injustice. At the end of each period of intense struggle more people stand with us than did the period before.

The social movement decrying mass incarceration and felony disenfranchisement has grown exponentially the last three years. Given that encouraging growth, the grassroots-inspired March on DC is placing new demands on leadership within government - and on leaders of grassroots groups, too.

It's time. And time for state and federal lawmakers to give less time tinkering with individual problems of incarceration. US prisons are now warehouses of people where hope for a better day is denied every day. Countless family members despair, too, angry at their sense of powerlessness. That said, I have experienced many times that tears of despair can water seeds of courage, and then people step out.

Chaos is not a path to prosperity and justice. Our drug laws and enforcement practices are chaotic, and our leaders lost their way years ago when they discarded the rule of law - formal procedures that protect our constitutional rights - to wage a futile war on some drugs. Most people don't think it's been worth the human cost. Federal legislators are the last leaders to listen. Is it the din of chaos that's finally getting to them?

We need an Omnibus Crime Reform discussion that can challenge, critique and replace the Sentencing Reform and Anti-Drug Abuse Acts of the 1980's. Those historic Acts now represent 20 years of bankrupt criminology and penology, spawning inhumane laws that caused mass imprisonment of mostly vulnerable people, and doing nothing to make our communities safer from dangerous drugs or people.

Do your part today. Send me your ideas of what should be included in a future Omnibus Bill. Join us in activities that are suggested in this issue of the Razor Wire and on our website at

Support our collective labors on the long march to end drug war injustice. Tell a friend why November Coalition is critical to what makes a movement - MOVE.

In Struggle,

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