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Unitarian Universalist Church hosts opponent of the "War on Drugs"

Sat, 25 Jan 2003 - Valdosta Daily Times (GA)
Contact: ron.wayne@gaflnews.com - Website: www.valdostadailytimes.com
Section: Living the Life, page 10A

VALDOSTA - Unitarian Universalist Church, 1951 E. Park Ave., hosts a speaker, 1 p.m. Sunday, on the church's drug policy.

Last June the General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association, held in Quebec City, Canada, adopted a statement of conscience supporting drug-policy reform and alternatives to "The War on Drugs," according to the church. In recognition of this assembly's efforts, the local Unitarian congregation hosts Nora Callahan, national speaker with Journey for Justice. Callahan advocates change in current drug policy.

This weekend, she will give a presentation and offer discussion on alternatives.

Callahan, the co-founder/executive director of The November Coalition, is journeying throughout the Southeast. "Her mission is to educate/activate the friends and loved ones of the nation's 450,000 drug prisoners to press for change in current anti-drug policy," according to the church.

In 1997, Nora co-founded TNC with her brother, who had been sentenced to 27.5 years in federal prison for cocaine conspiracy. TNC began as a small group of citizens whose lives have been gravely affected by the nation's anti-drug policy. TNC has grown to a nationwide network of many thousands, including ordinary citizens alarmed at the uselessness and societal damage caused by drug laws."

In 2001 Callahan married Chuck Armsbury, who detoured into revolutionary activism in the 1960s and ended up in federal prison. He is the editor of TNC's quarterly [newspaper], The Razor Wire. The couple left Eastern Washington State on January 8 to drive southeast in their motorhome for a five-month 5,000 "Southern Journey" which is allowing them to visit a variety of forums, conferences, etc.

At the TNC website, she describes how she became involved:

"My brother, Gary Callahan, had been imprisoned for about seven years when he asked me to organize prisoners with their loved ones to oppose the drug war. That was 1997, and by that time I had learned that a five-year prison sentence was considered crushing in any other country, and that our nation was just about to take title of 'World's Leading Jailer.' "My brother had 22 such crushing years left to serve. If you are the loved one of a prisoner, you know firsthand this agony, the feelings of helplessness, confusion and shame."

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