National Radio Host Warren Ballentine to Keynote BALTIMORE Town Hall Meeting on the War on Drugs
Series of Town Hall Meetings to Discuss Alternatives to Racially-Biased Strategy
Group Calls for Dialogue on Legalization of Drugs to Stop Violence in Black Communities
May 18th-19th at Sojourner-Douglass College
(BALTIMORE - May 4, 2012) - Dr. Ron Daniels, President of the New York based Institute of the Black World 21ST Century (IBW), announced today that the organization will convene a series of Town Hall Meetings to increase public awareness about the devastating impact of the “War on Drugs” on the Black community. Sojourner-Douglass College will be the host of the Baltimore Town Hall Meeting on Friday, May 18th (6 to 9 pm) and Saturday, May 19th (12 noon), 500 N. Central Avenue. Other Town Hall meetings are scheduled to take place in Washington, D.C. and Pittsburgh.
President Richard M. Nixon launched the War on Drugs 41 years ago to halt the trafficking of illegal drugs in the U.S. But, Dr. Daniels and many drug policy reform advocates believe it has had a destructive impact on Black communities across the nation. Dr. Daniels states, “Black communities have been a primary target for selective policing practices that have resulted in the mass incarceration of millions of Black people. Families have been disrupted and communities devastated by a racially biased policy. The Town Hall Meeting will focus on what our young brothers and sisters call a ‘War on Us’.”
Working in conjunction with a local planning committee comprised of criminal justice and drug policy reform advocates, heads of community based organizations and faith leaders, IBW has assembled a stellar panel of speakers to address the disastrous effects of the War on Drugs on Black people. National Radio Host Warren Ballentine, will serve as the Keynote Presenter for the event. Other speakers will include: Maryland State Delegate Jill P. Carter, Dr. Tyrone Powers, Chairman of The Children 1st Movement and The People’s Plan to Dramatically Reduce Crime in Baltimore City; Neil Franklin, Executive Director, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and others to be announced.
Baltimore’s own Little Melvin Williams will offer a testimonial about his experience in the drug trade. Individuals affected by the War on Drugs will offer testimonials as well. In addition to documenting the damage that the War on Drugs has done to the Black community, Panelists will present alternatives including viewing drugs as a community health rather than criminal justice issue, and discuss whether drugs should be legalized to stop the violence and killing in Black communities.
Dr. Daniels indicates that a major goal of the Town Hall Meeting is to encourage policy advocates and concerned citizens to work more closely together to end the War on Drugs and adopt more just and humane alternatives. IBW will convene a debriefing and strategy meeting May 19th at Sojourner-Douglass College to explore the formation of a criminal justice /drug policy reform collaborative which would meet periodically to discuss ways of effectively advancing an agenda for positive change.