‘Anyone’s Child: Families for Safer Drug Control’, were delighted to attend this year’s Drug Policy Alliance Reform conference in Washington DC thanks, in large part, to the Open Society Foundations scholarship programme which enabled myself, Anne-Marie Cockburn and Cara Lavan from the project to attend.
We were there to help gain exposure to our Anyone's Child campaign and to network with other families and organisations from across the globe in advance of the major UN meeting on drugs in April 2016 (UNGASS).
Transform's Jane Slater outside the White House with US based Moms United
The UNGASS is being run on the theme 'Achieving the 2019 goals: a better world for tomorrow's youth' (in other words continue fighting harder with the war on drugs in the name of our children). In order to counter this message, we are planning to expand our campaign to the international stage to tell the real-life stories of families from across the globe that have suffered as a result of international drug laws. Together we hope to have our voices heard as we call for a new approach to drugs that will better protect our families and children.
We met with partner organisations and individuals from a wide range of countries at the conference including, to name a few, Kenya, Mexico, Canada, Nigeria, India and a large contingent from the US.
Highlights from the conference include joining and presenting the campaign at a protest outside the White House with partner organisation Moms United from the U.S and Mums Du from Canada, presenting the campaign to partner organisations from 23 countries at a UNGASS strategy meeting, and filming a series of videos with families for our international campaign next year (videos coming soon).
In addition we presented the project at a community session 'Families uniting to end the war on drugs'. The session was highly moving as families shared their harrowing stories. Families’ spoke of losing children to drug deaths, children that had disappeared in Mexico's drug war and lives lost to long-term imprisonment. The session demonstrated what a far reaching impact our failed drug wars really have, and the power of these stories when families come together to tell the true costs of the drug war.
Anne-Marie Cockburn also spoke at a main session panel 'When Women Ended Prohibition: The 21st Century Struggle to End the Criminalization of Drug Use' which examined the role that women are playing in ending drug prohibition.
Our brilliant volunteers Suzanne, Fiona and Anne-Marie, Suzanne - at the Anyone's Child stall
Please watch the HCLU video that was produced at the conference for the closing plenary. It features our demonstration at the White House and an interview with Anne-Marie at around 4.40.
If you know of a family or organisation that we should be working with on this project please do get in touch.