On Wednesday, I rode a bus to Albany to protest the NYC police’s practice of stopping and frisking people of color and to push the NY State legislature to pass a bill to end this practice*.
The group I travelled with was organized by the Drug Policy Alliance, New York Harm Reduction Educators and Vocal-NY groups that work with the people who are affected by this practice . We chanted and made noise, we held a rally alongside of anti-frackers on the Million Dollar Staircase, and we visited the Assembly and Senate. I had a long day [up at quarter of four to get to the place where the group met] but I felt good about being with people who are willing to act and from acting myself. And I think that being there made a difference because presence shows interest, and as one of the legislators who spoke at the rally said, legislators need to be reminded that they are not there to represent themselves.

* Under New York State law, the private possession of a small amount of marijuana is punished with a “traffic ticket.” Public possession of a small amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor. Police stop people of color and ask them to “empty their pockets.” Voila, a traffic ticket becomes a misdemeanor with all the accompanying unpleasant consequences. The proposed bill would end this practice by making private and public possession both “traffic tickets.”

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