War On Drugs

Sunday Forum at St. Johns Presbyterian Church

11:40 AM, in the Fireside Room
Richard Nixon declared the war on drugs in 1971. What has been accomplished? Is this just a rhetorical “war,” or a real one – and if it is real, who or what is the enemy? What has been the impact on young people in the United States, especially youth of color, and beyond our borders – in Latin America? What alternative approaches are useful in dealing with “illegal drugs”? What should we do to bring this war to an end? We are fortunate to have people who have been struggling with these issues and the people impacted for many years to help us address these questions.


April 21

Deborah Peterson Small

Deborah Peterson Small is the Executive Director of Break the Chains, an advocacy organization committed to addressing the disproportionate impact of punitive drug policies on poor communities of color. Break the Chains was founded in the belief that community activism and advocacy is an essential component of progressive policy reform. Break the Chains works to engage families and community leaders in promoting alternatives to the failed “war on drugs” by adopting public health approaches to substance abuse and drug-related crimes. Break the Chains is an advocate and voice for those affected most by drug policies but too often unheard in policy debates and decisions.

April 28

John Lindsay-Poland

John Lindsay-Poland is Research and Advocacy Director of the national interfaith organization Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR). He has researched, written about, and advocated changes in the drug war in the Americas for more than 20 years. He edits FOR’s monthly Latin America Update; founded the FOR’s Colombia peace team; and writes about U.S. military policy and history in Latin America, including: Military Assistance and Human Rights: Colombia, U.S. Accountability, and Global Implications (2010) and Emperors in the Jungle: The Hidden History of the U.S. in Panama (Duke, 2003). He served with Peace Brigades International (PBI) in Guatemala and El Salvador, and co-founded PBI’s Colombia Project. He lives and works in Oakland.