FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jody L. Miller
Ellen Zoe Golden
JLM PR, Inc.
HIP-HOP SUMMIT ACTION NETWORK CITES PROGRESS ON ROCKEFELLER DRUG LAWS
NEW YORK, N.Y. – DECEMBER 7, 2004 – For more than 30 years , the state of
New York has distinguished itself as leading the nation with the most
repressive, draconian mandatory minimum sentencing laws, known as the
Rockefeller Drug Laws. The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN), in
coalition with many other organizations, has been involved in a campaign to
raise public awareness about the unfairness of the Rockefeller Drug Laws.
Today, we are pleased to hear that finally, a bi-partisan legislative
agreement has been reached by Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno and State
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to reform sentencing provisions of the
Rockefeller Drug Laws.
“We are very happy and proud of all of the support and efforts by hip-hop
artists and other community activists that helped to bring about today’s
agreement to reform the Rockefeller Drug Laws,” acknowledged Russell
Simmons, Chairman of HSAN. “Of course we wanted more, but it’s as much as we
could have realistically hoped for and we finally broke the stalemate.”
Elaine Bartlett, Rockefeller Drug Laws survivor and author of her life
story, “Life On the Outside” and executive director of Life on the Outside
Organization, declared, “This breakthrough reform is good, not only for our
community but for our children. Too many families have lost their parents
and/or children in prison for such a long period of time. If we have the
opportunity now to reunite 400 people with their families, then we have
accomplished a lot. ”
“The hip-hop community hopes that the new provisions proposed will bring
retroactive relief to those unjustly incarcerated in the state prison
system,” emphasized HSAN President/CEO Dr. Benjamin Chavis. “This is an
important step forward and we must continue to raise our voices until full
justice is served to the families and communities disproportionately
impacted by these laws during the past three decades.”
HSAN is a non-profit, non-partisan national coalition of artists,
entertainment industry leaders, education advocates, civil rights proponents
and youth leaders united in the belief that the “hip-hop” phenomena is an
enormously influential agent for social change which must be responsibly and
pro-actively utilized to fight the war on poverty and injustice.
For more information on HSAN, go to www.hsan.org.