Rockerfeller Drug Law Vigils

Since 1998 , the Kunstler Fund has been organizing vigils of family members and supporters of those incarcerated under the Rockefeller Drug Laws. Participants carry signs that display photographs and sentencing information of those imprisoned. The vigils are patterned after the Mothers of the Disappeared, the women who marched weekly at the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina to draw attention to loved ones killed by military troops. In the past 3 years we have developed a vast network of families affected by this Draconian 28-year-old legislation. A number of inmates represented at our vigils have gone on to receive clemency from Governor Pataki.
Both Pataki and the State Assembly released plans to amend the laws, and gubernatorial candidates McCall and Golisano have made Rockefeller law reform a campaign priority. Now that politicians have acknowledged the unflinching cruelty of the Rockefeller Laws and the Second Felony Offendernder Law, it is more important than ever for us to continue our work to put a human face on the real victims of the Drug War. The Kunstler Fund is proud to support the New York Mothers of the Disappeared, an organization of mothers and other family members fighting to put an end to this war on poor people and people of color.
Tulia, Texas

More than ten percent of the African-American community in this tiny town were arrested in a drug sting conducted by a single undercover officer with no corroborating evidence. Tulia, Texas, population 5,000, is the site of the Kunster Fund's recent efforts to investigate the injustices of the drug war as it is waged across the country. In Tulia, we believe the investigation specifcally targeted the African-American population and was therefore a civil rights violation.

As a result of the Kunstler Fund's investigations, the case has garnered national media attention, as well as the support of the ACLU and the NAACP. On Friday, Oct. 13, 2000, relatives of those indicted joined representatives of the ACLU, NAACP and the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice in announcing the filing of a formal complaint with the U.S. Dept. Of Justice. The complaint fingers the Panhandle Regional Narcotics Task Force, the controlling agency in charge of the drug sting.

With the generous support of the Drug Policy Alliance, the Kunstler Fund has produced a 26-minute documentary about the Tulia drug sting. Narrated by Bernard Whitewith music by Ese and Broke Toe Rezo, the video is a shocking look at the collateral consequences of America's racist drug war. If you are interested in receiving a copy, click here.