Latest Drug War News

GoodShop: You Shop...We Give!

Shop online at and a percentage of each purchase will be donated to our cause! More than 600 top stores are participating!

The Internet Our Website

Untitled Document

This edition of The Razor Wire is available as a full size, full color, fully printable Adobe Acrobat PDF file.

Book Review:

So Many Tears, by Teresa Aviles

Published by Amiaya Entertainment; reviewed by Tom Murlowski

No mother should ever have to bury her child, ever. Most folks would think that was the worst pain a human heart could bear. But they'd be wrong. Far worse pain comes from knowing your child was betrayed and mindlessly ground up by the government you've trusted to serve and protect.

In So Many Tears, Teresa Aviles tells the heart-wrenching story of how the War on Drugs took away her first-born child, Isidro. Implicated in a federal drug conspiracy, Isidro was sucked into the maw of the criminal justice nightmare and sentenced to 26 years for a first-time non-violent drug law violation, destined never to return to the arms of his loving family.

Arrested with no drugs, money or evidence of any sort, and convicted on the questionable word of a paid government informant, Isidro was eight years into his sentence when he was taken deathly ill. Teresa tells of being saddled by the sickening frustration resulting from communications with an unfeeling bureaucracy while just trying to get information and help her ailing son.

Even now this mother still doesn't have any real answers. Isidro's death certificate, written by US Bureau of Prison officials, still states he was a White Male who died of AIDS.

"I kept thinking that this was a bad dream and that I was going to wake up and the dream was going to fade from my memory. Little did I know that I was not going to wake up from this nightmare, but that it was going to last, for the rest of my life." - from So Many Tears

This book is an unflinching look at the gritty reality of life in the housing projects of the Bronx, New York City, and a wake-up call about the racism and classism still alive and well in the streets of America. Having grown up in comfortable white suburbia in the Midwest, I feel almost incapable of critiquing this story, but perhaps that's the strength of this emotion-stirring book: its ability to hold any reader spellbound by the awful misfortune of one family.

I challenge anyone of any race, color or creed who defends mass incarceration as a response to drugs and crime in America to read and experience So Many Tears. You won't be disappointed with your new understanding of incarceration's social-damage side effects.

Teresa Aviles vowed on her son's deathbed that she would devote her life to ending the injustice of the War on Drugs, and she fights tirelessly still. Teresa has been a steadfast volunteer with the November Coalition since that dreadful day in July 1998 when her son died mysteriously.

Every year she organizes demonstrations, sponsors a Summer Picnic and hosts a Christmas Party for local children of incarcerated parents, all in honor of her fallen son, Isidro Lamont Aviles.

So Many Tears is available from Amiaya Entertainment LLC, PO Box 1275, New York, NY 10159, (212) 946-6565, and online at


Dear Teresa,

I just finished your book this morning. I can't tell you how many tears I shed reading it. I wanted to tell you that you are an amazing, strong and wonderful woman/mother/grandmother. The decisions you made were so hard I cannot imagine, being a mother myself. My sister was also in the system for several years and there was this one incident when she fell while mopping the halls (a job that was assigned to her) well she broke her ankle and the CO's told her to stop the crying that if she were a HORSE he would just put her out of her misery and shoot her dead. I was so angry when she called us and told us this story. Do they really need to be treated like animals?

Well, my sister is now in heaven along with your Isidro. I lost her to another demon on the streets (heroin). She left behind two children Jeremy 7 and Bryan 17 months now. My mom has Bryan now and I help with taking care of him. Jeremy lives with his dad. But had she gotten help when she was first incarcerated she would probably be here today.

Again, you are an inspiration to all women. God Bless You and your family.

From a reader and a fan. Keep up the good work in the name of your first born son.

Always, Jacqueline

Mom Tee,
I am still crying. WOW. This book is so powerful, and so awesome. You are so strong and blessed. Several of my coworkers and friends are looking to purchase the book, they have to get it from Amiaya though. B&N will not have it until late April I see :(.
Thank you for sharing your gift and being an awesome example of motherhood and love.
Talk to you soon. Luv Ya, Nicole

"I could not believe I was reading a book writen by my own mom! This book made me laugh, it made me cry, but most of all -- it touched me deep down inside! Having seen so much of it, but not really knowing how Teresa was feeling (until I read the book), it let me see a deeper side of my mother!" -- Shawaun Aviles, January 24, 2006

"A Heartfelt Mother's Tale: This story is one that beautifully illustrates the love of a mother and son. It will make you laugh, cry, empathize and get into action against the war on drugs. I really enjoyed her honest words and poetic twist strung throughout the memoir. A must read!" -- Kim, A reviewer, January 23, 2006

"I went to Our Lady of Grace with Isidro. When I started reading So Many Tears and saw the dedication and picture of him I couldn't believe he was gone. The last time I saw him he was sitting in front of this house on 230th & Bronxwood Avenue, and it seems like that was just a couple of years ago. I laugh and I cried when I read this book because I always remember Isidro being the class clown -- he always kept us laughing. I can honestly say that I don't remember Isidro any other way but smiling.

"I was the little black chubby girl with the short hair that all the boys use to tease, and your son used to tell me every time I cried to "forget them, they're just stupid!" I just wanted to share that with you and to let you know that as a mother, I share your pain.

"As a black woman I admire you for your courage to fight for other families who are suffering because of a loved one being in the system. So many time we as people accept things without questions that we shouldn't. It is good to see that there is someone like you to fight for people who might not know how to fight for themselves. I pray that God continues to bless you and your family." -- Maxine Bullock-Folson, New York City

"A mother tells how the drug war destroyed her first-born child, Isidro, at age 26, seven years 'down' on a 27 year sentence for drug conspiracy. Did he do it? She knew the dealer who snitched but never knew the details. Why did he take a plea? She never knew. What killed him? She never knew. The reader fills in the blanks left by the callousness and secrecy of the federal criminal justice system.

"Apparently Isidro caved when the prosecutor threatened to charge other members of the Aviles family with conspiracy. Isidro was willing to take 27 years rather than that. Prosecutors come down hard on a defendant who won't admit "guilt", and there is nothing to stop them. Conspiracy charges are easy to "prove" since all that's needed is the word of another defendant trying to get favored treatment for himself.

"Teresa Aviles writes this account both as a eulogy to her son and as a warning to other black women to wake up to the societal damage being done to the Afro-American community by the drug war. The publisher bills it as a 'novel', but don't believe it. This really happened, and we Americans all should be ashamed of it." -- John Chase, Palm Harbor, FL

You can read more about Teresa and her work at

Working to end drug war injustice

Meet the People Behind The U.S. Sentencing Guidelines

Questions or problems? Contact