In 2006, a 38-year-old Texas woman named Carol Denise Richardson was convicted of cocaine possession. A federal judge sentenced her to life in prison. Last year, after she had served ten years of her life term, President Obama ordered her release from prison, conditioned on ten years of supervised release. A few weeks ago, Richardson was sent back to prison after she was caught stealing $60 worth of detergent to get the money to buy drugs.
Richardson is a drug addict. She is also black.
I am writing to ask you to help fund what for me has been the most meaningful program in the 28 years that I have been running The Future of Freedom Foundation: holding “End the Drug War” conferences at what are called Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
Ever since I discovered libertarianism in the late 1970s, I have attended countless libertarian conferences, seminars, lectures, and conventions. There has been one glaring common denominator at these libertarian events: few or no African-Americans in attendance.
Two years ago, I decided to do something about that. I decided that we would take our drug war conferences to students at HBCUs.
There are lots of reasons to end the war on drugs. Principal among them is that drug laws constitute a severe violation of the principles of liberty. The drug war has failed. It has brought nothing but death, destruction, corruption, and suffering to people from all walks of life. That’s why, since our inception in 1989, FFF has taken a leading role in the libertarian movement against the drug war.
But there is another important reason for ending the drug war: It is racist to the core in terms of its enforcement and consequences. Whether we are talking about arrests, searches, harassment, raids, asset forfeiture, or jail sentences, there is no doubt that the adverse consequences of the drug war fall disproportionately on blacks. The noted scholar Michelle Alexander is absolutely correct when she refers to the drug war as the new Jim Crow.
We have taken our “End the Drug War” conference to two HBCUs: Morgan State University in Baltimore and Florida A&M University College of Law in Orlando. It takes time to find student hosts on campus. Through extensive email inquiries and telephone calls to professors and various student groups on campus, we have been able to make contacts with professors and students who were as enthusiastic and passionate as we are about having “End the Drug War” conferences at their schools.
At both campuses, I could tell that we touched the hearts and minds of the students. They were grateful that we came to their campus with a program focusing on an issue that deeply affects the African-American community.
For many of the students, this was their first opportunity to learn about libertarianism. We talk about libertarian principles in the context of the drug war and we distribute a copy of our booklet “Economic Liberty and the Constitution” to all attendees, give everyone a complimentary subscription to our monthly journal Future of Freedom, and add everyone to our “FFF Daily” email list.
We also videotape the “End the Drug War” presentations and post them online at www.fff.org and on YouTube so that everyone can watch them. (See talks from Morgan State University and Florida A&M University College of Law.)
With the large number of people now calling for drug legalization, the drug war is clearly teetering. It belongs in the dustbin of history.
African-American students can be the catalyst for finally bringing this horrific government program to an end. Drug addicts like Carol Denise Richardson belong in rehab, not in prison.
Will you help fund this program with a generous tax-deductible donation to The Future of Freedom Foundation? You can donate on our website, or if you prefer, send us a donation through the mail.
Yours for liberty,
P.S. Until July 31, we are offering our newest ebook, The War on Drugs Is a War on Freedom by FFF policy advisor Laurence Vance, at a discounted price of 99 cents. Buy it at Amazon.com.