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Children Breaking the Silence

The following was presented at the Seattle Hempfest last August. Jude is one of the estimated 2.5 million American children who have a parent in prison. His father is serving a 10 year federal prison sentence for a low-level role in a marijuana law violation.

My name is Jude and I'm here to talk to you about how the drug war has affected our family and thousands of families everywhere. When I was 10 years old, life as we knew it changed: my stepfather was taken away by the FBI and sent to Minnesota. They came into our house and took every penny they could find, except for $15 in my room, which I gave to my mom.

My mom is usually pretty cool and calm, but 36 hours after the raid on our home, she gave birth to my little sister. My father missed the event because he was being held in jail. We named her Esperanza, which means hope in Spanish. Hope means not giving in to reality.

Jimmer, my dad, is a man who's been rooted in our community for 15 years. He was an umpire for our Little League games and an active supporter of our school sports and academic activities. A person we know to be kind, loving and peaceful was taken from our lives for being a gardener; for growing cannabis, one of the gentlest and most giving plants on this planet.

So I ask you this: who are the victims of the prohibition? The children of the prisoners of this drug war are victims as well because we have to live our lives without their mothers or fathers and sometimes both. You can't imagine what that's like unless you've lived it. I watch my mother suffer and struggle, I hear the cries of my little sister, wanting comfort from a father that is 1,500 miles away. He won't be home for years because people can't reason with each other, speak sanely, and hear the truth. We don't need negative media, hype, nor lies and distortions: just the truth and justice and freedom. So please, let's put an end to this senseless war,and help reunite our families.

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