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Growing National Support For Repeal Of New York’s Rockefeller Drug Laws

On the 30th anniversary of the enactment of the New York State Rockefeller Drug Laws, which has led to the unfair lengthy incarceration of tens of thousands of non-violent drug offenders, Russell Simmons and the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, Mothers Of the NY Disappeared, and a growing national coalition of elected officials, civil rights and prison reform organizations, and grassroots activists, will announce on May 8, at an 11 a.m. press conference, plans to encourage Governor George Pataki to meet a specific deadline to repeal these unjust laws. The press conference will take place at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, 42nd Street and Grand Central, in the Booth Imperial Room. Immediately following the press conference at 12 p.m., there will be a protest rally staged in front of Governor Pataki’s office on Third Avenue and 40th Street in New York City.

“We should be spending State funds to educate the children rather than using the costly Rockefeller Drug Laws to unfairly incarcerate their parents,” asserted Randy Credico, Director of the Mothers of the NY Disappeared.

“I don’t think it’s fair that a young person coming up could make a simple mistake and it can affect their entire lives, preventing them from evolving and moving forward. It’s also unfair that minorities are the main people who suffer in these situations. We need to repeal these laws so we can become better people and grow instead of locking these people up and throwing away the key,” explained Damon Dash, CEO of Roc-A-Fella Records.

Russell Simmons explained: “The ‘Countdown to Fairness’ represents the broadest coalition ever assembled on this important issue. The hip-hop community’s active involvement will help Governor Pataki to see and feel the will of the people as we demand the repeal of these wack laws.”

“The repeal of the Rockefeller Drug Laws is a National priority for all fair-minded people,” emphasized Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.

“When, in 1973, Governor Nelson Rockefeller proposed draconian penalties for drug offenders, he said it was time for ‘brutal honesty’ about drug addiction. Here’s the honest truth: The Rockefeller Drug Laws are unjust, unfair, inefficient – and exorbitantly wasteful of human lives and economic resources. We knew this thirty years ago. It is no less true today,” added Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of New York Civil Liberties Union.

Responded Robert Gangi, Executive Director of the Correctional Association and spokesperson for Drop The Rock: “Thirty years of painful experience have conclusively proved that the Rockefeller Drug Laws are wasteful, ineffective, unjust, racist. It’s long past time to remove the stain of these laws from New York State’s Penal code.”

“We intend to involve thousands of concerned youth on this vital issue. The momentum will build everyday through the ‘Countdown To Fairness.’ Hip-hop culture has already shown that the energy, vitality and voice of the young will not be silenced as we move to put an end to these dumb laws,” concluded Dr. Benjamin Chavis, President of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network.

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