This letter was published in our latest "print" edition. This newspaper is mailed into over 200 prisons.
Summer has ended and we succeeded in taking our message of mass incarceration due to the war on drugs to literally thousands upon thousands of American citizens. We now have chapters organizing in every region of the country. Next issue we will introduce our new volunteers and provide contact information.
Donations have made it possible to keep our promise of a newspaper and the printing of 10,000 of the 8 page tabloid that has been added as an insert to this issue. If you are interested in helping us to distribute these newspaper/brochures, please contact our office. Our membership grows and this newspaper is now received by over 500 prisoners of the drug war and over 1,000 persons on the outside. Each issue has doubled our mailing list, let's hope that continues.
As Director, I must reiterate that the title means, quite simply, that I am directed by the prisoners of the drug war and thier loved-ones. They have not lead us wrong and our strategy and implementations have made an impact on all who have heard our words and read our literature.
Throughout this issue you can read our activity reports and keep in mind that we have a busy autumn being scheduled now. Please write of any events where our presence could further our message and don't assume that we already know of them.
To the prisoners, I urge you to send us a family photo and a short description not unlike you see in our two-color brochure. These stories are printed in material such as this, as well as posted on our website. We get the photos returned as soon as we are done using them. And please don't forget to notify us if you are transferred or better yet, if you are released. To those of you who made donations, we tried our best to see those dollars put to good use. Prisoner donations are half the money received to date. I assure you that we are still persuing grant requests to foundations that will consider our work important. This is a tedious process and we still have hopes of receiving considerable support.
To the family and friends of drug war prisoners, I urge you to become involved in our efforts in any manner that you can. We are convinced that we can bring an end to the destructive war in America if we can tell the horrors of it. The if depends on you. We need your help. We operate on a financial shoe-string and even small montly donations could enable us to do far more, far faster. There are well over half a million drug war prisoners. If each family or friend of a drug war prisoner were send in one dollar a month . . . you do the math. It takes money to provide the tools of activism, your contribution is activism! You won't be donating to cover large adminstrative costs, we maintain our office in a home and have in-kind contributions that cover phone and much of our travel expenses. We have volunteers ready to do the same work all over this country, but start-up costs to get displays made for willing volunteers runs into hundreds of dollars. Will our readers support this effort to reform drug policy and bring our loved-ones home? We certainly count on it. Please take the time to fill out our membership form today and make what donation you can.
Another request of our POW members is this-we need the names and addresses of your friends and family! We will send them a copy of the 2-color tabloid brochure and a letter of introduction. We will let them know that you have asked us to send them this information unless you request us to do otherwise. It would be a good idea for you to let them know to expect this material and send them a letter that describes our efforts and your enthusiasm for our organization's objectives. A lot of you write to aplaud our efforts. Well, save the applause and send us your family information. Write your friends and family and tell them what we are doing and what they can do to help us. Encourage them to join The November Coalition. This is the single most important task that you can do for all of us.
As you can see by this latest issue, we are gaining support from the ranks of long standing drug policy reformers. Our thanks to each one of them for contributing to our newspaper. There is provided address information and a note of thanks from each one of you personally would be appropriate and encourage support for the prisoner's of the drug war.
New on our website is a mail list that people can sign up for that enables them to receive emailed reports of our progress and needs. Ashley Clements of Atlanta, Georgia did the work that enabled this service to become available and DrugSense (www.drugsense.org) hosts the pages this service requires. To date we have 118 subscribers and Ashley maintains our list with diligence. His brother was a casualty of the drug war.
Tom Murlowski of San Diego, California has taken on the udates to our Legislative pages of the website. He "surfs" the congressional sites and adds proposed drug war legislation and updates active bills in Congress. Tom has a loved-one soon to be sentenced to Federal Prison. He found our website after her conviction and has been a strong supporter. He's learned web design and will take over many duties of our website mantinence in the near future.
Jacob Mitchell and G. Patrick Callahan, POW are now co-editors of our newspaper. This is a "brain strain," time consuming job, and it is with a rush of relief and gush of appreciation that I exend to them my thanks.
Terry and Marilyn Perk made a visit with my brother, a prisoner of war in Oxford FCI, Wisconsin possible. It had been almost two years since I saw him last. While in Oxford I was able to meet Ansil Henry and his family, Jerry Lewis and his parents, and none other than our co-founder and brain-child of The November Coalition, David Perk. Thank you Terry and Marilyn for a precious three days, Gary and I need that time together.
Consuello, Morgen, Chris, Ken, Tyree have been traveling the Northwest with "Max" and our booth. Martha, even after the loss of her brother Mark in August, continues to labor over the construction of laminate profiles, keep the booth display in neat order after each event and give her support and encouragement. It is this committment that will indeed bring freedom to drug war prisoners.
To the event organizers who invited us to participate, to all the people who opened your homes, gave up beds, put food in our bellies and made sure we had gas money to get home on-we thank you.
And so, autumn begins and our work continues . . .