June E-Newsletter
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June E-Newsletter
Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I have recently returned from a trip to Ithaca, New York, where city officials are reviewing a plan that includes the first supervised injection site in the United States. In this e-newsletter, I share how Ithaca has come to the forefront of the effort to establish harm reduction programs in this country.

In addition, CNDP Program Coordinator Kathryn Ray offers a theological reflection on seeing the crucified Christ in victims of police brutality and those imprisoned by War on Drugs policies.

Finally, we have exciting news to share. In our last e-newsletter, we asked you to contact your U.S. Representative in support of the Veterans Equal Access Act, which allows Veterans Administration doctors to discuss medical marijuana with their patients. We are pleased to report that the Act passed by a margin of 233-189. Thank you to all who wrote to their legislators!

Rev. Alexander E. Sharp
Executive Director, Clergy for a New Drug Policy
A New Dawn in Ithaca
Ithaca, N.Y. Mayor Svante Myrick (center); Lillian Fan, Assistant Director of Prevention Services – Harm Reduction (L); and County District Attorney Gwen Wilkinson (R); joined by over 20 community clergy on May 23 to review a new drug policy plan for the city.  

By Rev. Alexander E. Sharp 

Last week, I joined 20 clergy who listened as Mayor Svante Myrick of Ithaca, New York, outlined a plan to address the issue of drug use in their city. It is called “The Ithaca Plan: A Public Health and Safety Approach to Drugs and Drug Policy.” The proposals include a legal, supervised site where users can inject their own drugs. How is this possible? Answer: we are on the cusp of transcendent change in our country’s approach to drug use.

The old foundation of our national drug policy is crumbling. For over 45 years, the War on Drugs relied on arrests and incarceration to deter the supply and use of drugs. It brought forward a “punishment” model which destroyed communities, especially those of color. The mayor’s plan calls out this war for what it has become: a tragic and shameful national failure.
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The Criminal Christ
By Rev. Kathryn Ray

Under War on Drugs policies, disproportionate numbers of people of color get branded as criminals. In a time when the “criminal” label has become the means of casting out our brothers and sisters, of labeling them as less than people and undeserving of rights, we must recall the “criminal Christ,” who died on the cross under a government sentence.

We must see Christ in the faces of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and those individuals imprisoned under the harsh sentences of the War on Drugs.
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Take Action

-Contact your legislator to support the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act.
-Contact your legislator to reform civil asset forfeiture laws.

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