The Million Family March

On October 16th the Million Family March hopes to draw millions of people of all faiths to Washington DC to rally the strength of families to support a formal National Agenda which includes comprehensive statements about the drug war.

MFM is inspired and coordinated by the Nation of Islam and is a follow-up effort to the successful Million Man March in DC in 1995. Minister Louis Farrakhan characterized his concern with the drug war and its racist consequences, saying,
"The disproportionate incarceration of Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans and others in the United States is a crisis of mammoth proportions that we must address." (The National Agenda - public policy issues, analyses, and programmatic plan of action, 2000-2008, 'Prison Reform', p. 39)


The following reproduction from the National Agenda are facts and proposals (pages 34-37) about drugs, community and the drug war:

Drugs: Free Our Families and Communities from Drugs

The human destruction from drugs has become so commonplace that in some communities many have lost hope.


The federal government currently spends $15 billion dollars each year on law enforcement, treatment and prevention programs in its so-called "war on drugs." Despite these programs, the human costs of drugs are staggering:

  • According to the Black Community Crusade for Children, each day in America - 94 African American children are arrested for drug offenses, 151 are arrested for crimes of violence, and 1,118 are victims of violent crimes.
  • While African American men comprise 6% of the total population, they represent 35% of drug arrests, 55% of drug convictions and 74% of those serving prison sentences for drug-related offenses.
  • Almost 40 percent of those infected with HIV/AIDS are intravenous drug abusers.
  • Increase funding for drug prevention, treatment and education for at-risk communities· Refocus federal resources to target and punish large-scale drug smugglers, suppliers and distributors
  • Propose enhanced sentences for law enforcement personnel convicted of drug-related offenses
  • Establish faith-centered treatment programs
  • Organize town hall meetings, workshops and educational forums to take our drug eradication message to communities across the nation
  • Eliminate sentencing disparities
  • Investigate allegations of involvement in drug trafficking by intelligence agencies

Drug Sentencing: Eliminate Disparities

While we must find solutions to the crack cocaine epidemic destroying our communities, the inherent unfairness in the sentencing disparities for crack and powdered cocaine offenses cannot be justified.


According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, young Whites, ages 18-25, use crack cocaine at a higher percentage (3.2%) than young African Americans (1.8%). However, the penalties and prosecutions for crack cocaine cases are disproportionately applied to minorities.

While the decision to change crack and powdered cocaine offenses in either federal or state court is typically discretionary, federal convictions for cocaine offenses carry mandatory minimum sentences. Minorities currently account for 96 percent of federal crack cocaine prosecutions and convictions.

Under federal law, the ratio of powdered cocaine to crack cocaine is 100-to-1. This means that for sentencing purposes, 500 grams of powdered cocaine is the equivalent of five grams of crack cocaine. For example, a White defendant selling 500 grams of powdered cocaine is likely to get one year in the federal system, while an African American defendant selling five grams of crack cocaine likely will be prosecuted in federal court, and if convicted, will receive a mandatory minimum sentence of five years.

African Americans are now incarcerated at a rate nearly eight times to that of Whites. The July 1997 proposal by President Clinton to reduce the ratio to 10-to-1 did not eliminate this unfairness.

Moreover, recent charges that in the mid- 1980s, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Nicaraguan Contras and others trafficked in drugs have heightened concerns about unfairness and raised questions about the connection between U.S. foreign policy and drugs.


  • Equalize disparate sentencing guidelines for crack and powdered cocaine
  • Develop legislation to eliminate selective prosecution of minorities in drug-related offenses
  • Seek investigations of alleged links between American foreign policy and international drug smuggling operation

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