#317 Tell Congress To Stop War On Hurricane Victims

Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2005
Subject: #317 Tell Congress To Stop War On Hurricane Victims


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DrugSense FOCUS Alert #317 – Thursday, 27 Sep 2005

The following was provided by the Drug Policy Alliance

It has been endorsed by Common Sense for Drug Policy
http://www.csdp.org , Drug Reform Coordination Network
http://stopthedrugwar.org , Harm Reduction Coalition
http://www.harmreduction.org , Human Rights and the Drug War
http://www.hr95.org , National Alliance of Methadone Advocates
http://www.methadone.org, The Sentencing Project http://www.sentencingproject.org
, Students for Sensible Drug Policy http://www.daregeneration.com ,
and nearly a hundred other groups.


We Need Your Help to Stop the War on Drugs From Becoming a War on
Hurricane Victims.

Nearly three million people have been displaced from their homes
because of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Many have lost everything. Yet
federal laws prohibit these victims from receiving welfare, food
stamps, public housing, student loans and other benefits if they have
a drug law conviction. People who have lost everything should not be
denied public assistance just because they were convicted of a drug
offense sometime in their past.

The Alliance held a press conference today with Congressman Bobby
Scott (D-VA), ranking member of the House Crime Subcommittee, and
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), ranking member of the House
Immigration Subcommittee, to announce the introduction of the
“Elimination of Barriers for Katrina Victims Act,” which would
temporarily suspend federal laws that deny public assistance to
hurricane victims who have drug offenses in their past. If the bill is
enacted, thousands of destitute families that would otherwise be
denied food stamps, public housing and other aid because of prior drug
offenses would be able to obtain benefits to help put their lives back

Fax Congress in support of this important bill: http://actioncenter.drugpolicy.org/ctt.asp?u=1876&l=109090

In addition to holding a press conference, the Alliance released a
statement in support of the bill ( http://actioncenter.drugpolicy.org/ctt.asp?u=1876&l=109132
) signed by almost 100 state and national drug treatment, civil
rights, and public health groups.

We would like to thank Joyce Ann Brown, president and CEO of Mothers
(Fathers) for the Advancement of Social Systems (MASS), and Lorenzo
Ford, a MASS case worker, for traveling all the way from Texas to
speak at our press conference. We would like to especially thank
Antoinette Samson for coming to DC to speak. Her family was evacuated
from New Orleans, where they lost everything, and her courage in the
face of adversity is amazing.

Introduced by Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA), the “Elimination of
Barriers for Katrina Victims Act” is co-sponsored by Rep. John Conyers
(D-MI), Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA), Rep.
Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Rep. Sheila
Jackson Lee (D-TX), Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY),
and Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS). Since the bill was just introduced,
it does not have a bill number yet.

Now we need you to speak up. Fax your U.S Representative today


After you have contacted your U.S Representative, please write a
letter on this issue to your local newspaper. The problems of
hurricane victims is daily news now, but few are aware of this issue.
Your letters will help bring the issue to the public.

To see a listing of the newspapers from your state and their contact
information, go to http://www.mapinc.org/media.htm, use the dropdown
menu to select your state and then select CONTACT.

Thanks for your effort and support.

It’s not what others do it’s what YOU do


Additional suggestions for writing LTEs are at our Media Activism Center:


Or contact MAP Media Activism Facilitator Steve Heath for personal
tips on how to write LTEs that get printed.




Please post a copy of your letter or report your action to the sent
letter list (sentlte@mapinc.org) if you are subscribed, or by
E-mailing a copy directly to heath@mapinc.org if you are not
subscribed. Your letter will then be forwarded to the list so others
can learn from your efforts.

Subscribing to the Sent LTE list (sentlte@mapinc.org) will help you to
review other sent LTEs and perhaps come up with new ideas or
approaches as well as keeping others aware of your important writing

To subscribe to the Sent LTE mailing list see


Prepared by: Stephen Heath, MAP Media Activism Facilitator =.