Caravan for Peace, a group of activists protesting US drug policy and the failed 'War on Drugs,' made the final stop of their month long tour across the US in Washington, DC, on Monday.
The group's campaign titled "End the Drug War- No More Violence" calls for a drastic shift in US drug policy, which the group sees as directly tied to an epidemic of mass killings that have devastated communities across the U.S.-Mexico border.
"The drug war has led to more than 60,000 murders in Mexico in the last five years and incarcerated millions in the United States at a cost of over $1 trillion in the past 40 years. The Caravan’s ultimate goal is to help bring an end to that war by urging alternatives to drug policies and sensible regulations of the U.S. gun market, among other critical changes," the group states.
After a 6,000 mile campaign tour, touching 25 American cities, the group touched down in DC and went immediately to work. On Monday, the group marched from the AFL-CIO building to the White House, holding signs that read "No More Drug War" and chanting "Alive they took them, alive we want them." The group then carried on to Freedom Plaza where they held a rally.
The Caravan for Peace will go to the US Congress Tuesday with hopes of speaking to a US legislator. The group will officially end their tour with a vigil in front of St. Stephen & the Incarnation Episcopal Church on Wednesday.
“We have traveled across the United States to raise awareness of the unbearable pain and loss caused by the drug war—and of the enormous shared responsibility for protecting families and communities in both our countries,” said Javier Sicilia, the poet-turned-activist and Caravan leader who spear-headed the anti-Drug War movement through his organization the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity (Movimiento por la Paz con Justicia y Dignidad, MPJD).
Ted Lewis, human rights director at the group Global Exchange, told Agence France-Presse the caravan "has been clearly a huge step in making these issues visible, but it has to continue. The path is being imagined right now."
For American Progress Laura Carlsen writes today:
In stops all around the country, the Caravan for Peace has found that convincing people that the war on drugs is destructive and wasteful is not the problem. The polls show the public came to this conclusion long ago and now close to a majority favor what used to be considered “radical” solutions like legalizing and regulating marijuana. Although most people weren’t aware of the impact of the violence in Mexico, it’s immediately obvious to them that the drug war—trying to block supply in places like Mexico and stop consumption by criminalizing drugs in the U.S.– is not working. Anywhere.