Protest planned at White House; Grassroots leaders to challenge Obama on investment in Black America

Protest Planned at White House on Anniversary of the War on Drugs


Amidst growing disaffection in some quarters of Black America with President Obama’s failure to directly address a myriad of crises afflicting distressed Black communities, contingents of “Drum Majors for Justice” are planning a Day of Direct Action, Monday, June 17th in Washington, D.C., to mark the 42nd Anniversary of the “War on Drugs.” Mobilized by the Institute of the Black World 21st Century (IBW), drug and criminal justice policy reform advocates, faith leaders, heads of community based organizations and formerly incarcerated leaders will call on President Obama to end the War on Drugs as a “pipeline” to the mass incarceration of Black people.  Leaders will also demand massive, direct investment of jobs and economic development projects in urban inner-city neighborhoods plagued by joblessness, drugs, gun violence and fratricide.

Declaring the crises in distressed Black communities a “State of Emergency,” Dr. Ron Daniels, President of IBW states:  “there is a direct connection between the so called War on Drugs as a racially biased strategy and the devastation, death and destruction in America’s ‘dark ghettos.’  The recent ALCU Study of marijuana arrests clearly confirms what we have known for some time, ‘the War on drugs is a war on us,’ a war that has severely damaged Black communities across the country.  We need President Obama to go beyond lecturing us about ‘personal responsibility’ and declare the State of Emergency in America’s dark ghettos a moral and political crisis which requires immediate action!”

According to the organizers, Drum Majors for Justice are expected to call for the elimination of the disparity in sentencing between crack and powdered cocaine; decriminalization of marijuana; an end to use of prison labor; the allocation of more federal funds for drug education, counseling and treatment; and a Presidential Commission to initiate a national dialogue on the regulation and taxation of drugs. Rev. Ronald Braxton, Senior Pastor, Metropolitan AME Church, D.C.; Courtney Stewart, Chairman, Re-entry Network for Returning Citizens, D.C.; Neill Franklin, Executive Director, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Baltimore; Jasiri X, Hip Hop Activist,  Pittsburgh, PA; Rev. Willie Wilson, Senior Pastor, Union Temple Baptist Church, D.C.; Rev. Kenny Glasgow, Executive Director, The Ordinary People’s Society, Dothan, AL; Joe Beasley, President, African Ascensions, Atlanta, GA; Bertha Lewis, Founder/President, The Black Institute, New York; Dean Williams, Founder/President, Formerly Convicted Citizens Project, Pittsburgh, PA; Tyrone Parker, Executive Director, Alliance of Concerned Men, D.C.;  Dr. Divine Pryor, Executive Director, Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions, New York; Leonard Dunston, President Emeritus, National Association of Black Social Workers, Durham, NC; David Mann, Man Up! Inc., New York; Khalid Raheem, National Council for Urban Peace and Justice, Pittsburgh; Dr. Marvin Cheatham, Civil Rights and Election Law Consultant, Baltimore; Minister Abdul Khadir Muhammad, Regional Representative, Nation of Islam, D.C.;  Sonnie Jones, Community Activist, Baltimore Justice Collaborative; Rev. Lennox Yearwood, President, Hip Hop Caucus, D.C.; Atty. NkechiTaifa, Senior Policy Analyst, Open Society Foundations, D.C. and Charles Thornton,  Director of the D.C. Office of Returning Citizens are among the scores of leaders who will speak at the Day of Direct Action.

Day of Direct Action  

Date: Monday, June 17th – 42nd Anniversary of the War on Drugs
Where: Washington, D.C.
Time: 10:00 AM – Pre-Rally, Historic Metropolitan AME Church, 1518 M Street, NW 20005
          11:00 AM – March to Lafayette Park (Across from the White House)
          12:00 Noon – 2:00 PM – Rally at Lafayette Park

For Further Information or to arrange interviews contact: Don Rojas, 410.844.1031
or Carolyn McClair,  917.686.0854 –