This letter was published in our latest "print" edition. This newspaper is mailed into over 160 prisons.
By Nora Callahan
To coin a phrase from Dr. Beresford-stay cool, the end of the Drug War is coming. I know, I know, not fast enough for any one of us, and especially those of you who are in prison. It didn't take a day for our country to get into this terrible mess, and it is not going to end in a day either. I wish I could tell you when, but all I can say with surety is that there are certainly a lot of people working heart and soul to bring the curtain down on this terrible era and bring you home.
I want to thank all of you who have donated money, time and material to our website, this newspaper and our efforts entire. Many state drug war prisoners are sending stamps and we thank you for that important donation too - we use a lot of them!
We are "on the map" now and moving forward, thanks to all of you who have chosen to climb aboard. We have a long haul ahead, lots of planning and implementing to do.
Please take note of the membership form on page 17. For you inside, all it will require is a stamp and envelope and a moment's time-not a dime. Your donations are appreciated however, much needed and have been put to good work. If you have written a personal letter to us - your name is secure within our database. If you haven't written, be sure to fill this out and send it in or you will be deleted. Bulk mail doesn't get returned, so this is our only way of knowing if you are where we think you are. We've gathered our mailing list primarily from personal correspondence, but some are receiving it because your name,and address was given to us. If you would like to be a member of our Coalition, please fill out this form and return it.
Those on the outside of walls and wire - we need your financial and volunteer support. To date, a great deal of our donations have come from drug war prisoners who make about 30¢ an hour. Our outside mailing list has come primarily from prisoners who have submitted your information in hopes that you might help them have a voice in drug policy reform. If you would like to join our efforts or simply support the men and women who have sent us your names and addresses, please take the time to fill out the form on page 17 and make a donation to our organization. [Net readers can click here to find out how to join and support our efforts.]
We have been incorporated and our nonprofit status should be complete in the near future. If you need a receipt for having made a tax deductible donation, let us know. We haven't received a determination letter from the IRS as of yet, so can not promise that your donation will be deductible.
It is hard to ask for money, especially knowing that most of our members are, to put it mildly, economically disadvantaged. But, if we are going to be a viable voice in the call for reform, we are going to need it. It takes money to get our booth around the northwest, and we have goals to have many of these booths out there telling of drug war prisoners and their family's sufferings. It takes money to print and publish, it takes money to get us to speaking engagements . . .
Keeping up with all the correspondence has been keeping us busy, bear with us-there have been hundreds and hundreds of letters! Continue to send us your stories and photographs-of a family visit if possible, but if you don't have one with your family, a photo of yourself is fine. We can post your address if you would like correspondence, but we aren't a pen-pal service alone. If we can put a face and some heart to drug war prisoners, perhaps we can show this country what a terrible mistake it is to shut you away for years and years. Please try to be brief, but take the time to explain any absurdity in your case. You will receive a copy of your website page and your photograph back. This process takes us a while, but we do return them.
For all you who have sent literary and artistic contributions, we want you to know they are being posted on our website as fast as we can manage. I have been amazed and the vast amount of talent and heart that our government has trapped inside it's prisons. Keep up the good work and let this country become amazed and dismayed as well.
Our battle is to take this issue to the people-show them the waste, the destruction. We absolutely must build public sentiment to a fevered pitch - or the War will simply continue to wreck havoc. We have made a good beginning, no turning back now-it is time to end the War in America!
- Nora Callahan