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Mexican Poet Retired His Pen When His Son Was Murdered -- Now He's Turned Tragedy Into a Movement to the End Drug War

Mexican poet Javier Sicilia and victims of the drug war are drawing attention to violence south of the border by traveling across the U.S. in a peace caravan.

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Another critical reason for ending prohibition (and one that’s often overlooked in my opinion), is American national security. After 10 years of service with the government’s two main border enforcement agencies, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), I know that an indefinite drug war in Mexico equates to an indefinite drug war here in the United States. Southwest border states (especially Texas and Arizona) are increasingly witnessing spillover violence, and this trend will only increase as Mexico’s plight becomes more dire in years ahead. The only way to end this is to eliminate the black market for illicit narcotics, or at least to minimize the deadly industry, and legalizing marijuana alone at this point would do much to accomplish that feat.

The purpose of this article is to urge folks to come out and show love for Javier Sicilia and his accompanying brothers and sisters. Anyone with passion who wants to simultaneously witness a more peaceful Mexico and a more stable United States should be present for at least one of the caravan’s historic stops. Tens of millions of Americans are fed up with the nation’s prohibition policies, but many of us don’t go out of our way to help bring change. Numbers speak volumes, and being present is all it really takes to help increase the voltage and pressure on the government, and it’s only a fraction of the commitment (let alone blood) that our soon-to-be-arriving neighbors have had to ante up.

With countries like Mexico and Guatemala being under siege more than ever as a result of American drug policy, it’s likely the caravan will be dominated by the Latino community. Yet diverse participants from several drug reform organizations will be present as well. For example, there will be representatives from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) escorting the visitors at every stop of the way. An organization made up of former judges, prosecutors, cops and federal agents who oppose the country’s drug laws, LEAP members will be traveling in a mock police SUV and will be available for questions, comments, suggestions, etc. about the failures of prohibition (and ways to help bring it to an end).

Other heavy-hitting drug reform organization like the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) will be taking part as well. And, having so many nationwide chapters, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is likely to have several volunteer boots on the ground during the voyage.

One of the caravan’s final Southern stops will be Atlanta, Georgia before heading up to the Midwest. Living in the Southeast, I contacted the Atlanta-based Peachtree NORML chapter when I heard that Javier Sicilia and company were coming to town. I’ve known the organization’s executive director, Sharon Ravert, for some time now (ever since I resigned from the government to get involved in marijuana reform). Knowing her and the other Peachtree members like I do, I wasn’t surprised to learn that plans were already in motion to roll out the red carpet for the expected company. Activities include a candlelight vigil, a march to city hall and street theater with stories from the caravan.

Global Exchange is the organization responsible for making this event possible, and on its site is a map with the caravan’s anticipated dates, cities and stops (along with the events happening in each). With the United States being as large as it is, many citizens (mainly in the Northwest) won’t have close and viable options for attending any stops—even with the participants touring like rock-stars and hitting 24 cities in just 30 days. But the grand finale will be in Washington, D.C. over the 9/11 anniversary, so what better time to travel to the nation’s capital?

 
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