The Drug Policy Foundation* 2000 Conference
May 16-20, Washington D.C.
by Richard Lake, editor, Drug Sense/Media Awareness Project
The big news of the Conference was announced within the first hour of the opening session. The Lindesmith Center and The Drug Policy Foundation are merging into a new organization effective 1 July 2000. Throughout the Conference the folks were expressing hope that this will be the organization that will carry our issues with an effectiveness similar to that of organizations like the NAACP, AARP, ACLU and other large organizations.
You can watch this announcement on-line at www.zoomculture.com/general/dcoffice/dpf/opening.html
as presented by Ira Glasser, Chairman of the Board of Directors
of DPF and Ethan Nadelmann, Director, Lindesmith Center.
The Plenary Sessions were superb! You may see them in steaming video at www.zoomculture.com/general/dcoffice/dpf/plenary.html Without a doubt, in my biased opinion, "How to Win at Reform Using the Internet" was the session I enjoyed the most. Seeing Kevin Zeese, Mark Greer, Nora Callahan, David Borden, Maia Szalavitz and Michael Dolan discuss 'net activism made my day. Two years ago the internet was not even a conference topic. Last year it was a workshop in a less than desirable time slot. This year it was a key session of the conference! We who use the 'net to further our efforts are gaining some respect!
The Conference Workshops are always a problem for me. I wish
I could have cloned myself so that I could be in each of the
four or five concurrently held workshops at once, as they all
were worthy of interest. Hopefully zoomculture will have the
workshop video clips on line soon so we can at least hear parts
of the ones we missed. My own workshop on "Growing Your
Organization - Working with Volunteers" went well, thanks
to panel members Nora Callahan, Don Topping and Ruth Lampi, as
well as good audience participation.
Congressman Barney Frank, the Keynote Speaker -www.zoomculture.com/general/dcoffice/dpf/keynote.html - said what other Congress persons have been telling me. If you want to influence Congress, as we must, you need to contact the congress folks you can vote for. Let them think you support them, but you would like more support for your issue. Call, visit, fax, or send a letter with a stamp on it. Bulk email and form letters count for little in congressional offices. A few personal words from a voter have more impact than a hundred form letters.
The awards presented to so many deserving folks was a pleasure to witness. Because I, and others who work with MAP, have received so much kind and sound advice from Kevin Zeese, seeing him receive The Richard J. Dennis Drugpeace Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Drug Policy Reform was a highlight of the awards presentations.
Seldom do so many drug policy reform folks meet. Thus meetings of various groups, including MAP/DrugSense folks, took place during the Conference.
A significant part of the conference for all was visiting informally in the hotel lobby with others to talk about our activities. And yes, we had fun at the roaming gatherings that lasted into the early morning.
Oh, this Conference was truly international in character, with strong representation, as well as presentations, from Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany and other countries.
I encourage everyone to plan to attend the next one. For me, the Conference is a way of really being connected with the entire reform community - a connection I do not have in my small town. What I learn at the conferences brings a valued dimension to my reform efforts.
More than 38,046 Drug-Related News Clippings in a powerful searchable database! http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/
*The Drug Policy Foundation, having merged with the Lindesmith Center is now The Drug Policy Alliance
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