On Thursday, June 23, activists will gather at 8 pm in front of the Brooklyn House of Detention and hold a rally as The Illuminator projects images and videos of people from all walks of life who use or have used drugs - fathers, teachers, friends, nurses - as part of the Support. Don't Punish Global Day of Action. This annual day of action is designed to tell a different story on the United Nations' International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
Governments around the world often choose to use this day to celebrate their contributions to the global 'war on drugs'. In the past, some governments have even commemorated it by holding executions or public beatings of drug offenders. For example, from 2009 to 2014, China unveiled executions and other harsh punishments in the lead-up to the International Day Against Drug Abuse and in 2008, Indonesia cited the day as it resumed executions after a four-year hiatus.
In response, advocates around the world began to plan counter-demonstrations over the past few years under the global campaign banner of Support. Don't Punish, aimed at reclaiming the message and promoting drug policy reforms based on public health, development, and human rights. Last year, over 160 cities worldwide held diverse, creative, and impactful events. This year, events are being planned in cities in dozens of countries, including Argentina, Australia, Cambodia, Canada, Colombia, Egypt, France, Ghana, Greece, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, the Philippines, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, and the UK, among others. The action in New York City will unite New Yorkers with those fighting for drug policy reform across the world, in a show of solidary and to demonstrate the breadth and power of this movement.
Ann Fordham, Executive Director of the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC), said "Drug policies are supposed to pursue the health and welfare of humankind, but instead they have focused on repressive responses which are causing more damage than the drugs they are supposed to eradicate. This year's Global Day of Action will see thousands of activists in over 100 countries demonstrating against the war in drugs."
Heather Haase, IDPC's New York representative, said, "It's time to do away with the stigma around drug use. Support. Don't Punish's collaboration with Illuminator will show the many faces of people who use or have used drugs. They are friends, sisters, teachers, volunteers, advocates, artists, and parents. They are many different things - but they are not criminals."
Support. Don't Punish Day of Action
When: 8 pm
Where: Brooklyn Detention Center, 275 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, New York 11201
What: Rally at Brooklyn Detention Center as The Illuminator projects images and videos to humanize people who use drugs, challenge stigma, and call for support, not prison, for people who use drugs.
Additional information here.