THIRTY-FIRST STREET BAPTIST CHURCH
823 N. 31ST STREET
RICHMOND, VA 23223
December 2, 2011
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama:
I hope this correspondence finds you in the best of health and spirits. I am writing to ask for your consideration in a matter of great urgency to my community and our country.
Last week for the second time in six months there was a shooting incident in front of my home. Fortunately, this time no one was injured. In the previous shooting incident, a young man in his twenties was shot in the leg. Both of the shooting incidents occurred in the middle of the day while school children were present and other residents were sitting on their front porches. This has been going on for more than twenty years. As a matter of fact, it has been so bad that it was the topic of my doctoral dissertation in 1992 (The Impact of Religion on The Black Drug Sub-culture). I concluded at that time that it would be worthy of considering a moratorium on the de-criminalization of illegal drugs.
Now twenty years later, the blood is running even more so in my community and the streets of Black America. Of course, the scourge of drug addiction and drug trafficking is not limited to the African American community, it is an American problem. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that our government treats the drug issue as a criminal justice issue as opposed to a public health issue. We are incarcerating citizens with drug addictions instead of treating the root causes of the problem. Furthermore, we are allowing criminals to run the illegal drug business in our communities and terrorize our citizens. Since the government has declared its War on Drugs, the greatest casualties have been among innocent hard working Americans and our children.
Therefore, I am writing to ask you to De-criminalize illegal drugs and place them under the control of the state. Our War on Drugs is starting to look like the war on drugs in Mexico. We are not that far away from needing a military presence in some communities for kids to be able to walk to school and residents able to sit on their porches in relative safety. We need a more rational and compassionate drug policy that is reflective of an enlightened and intelligent leadership. I hope you will give serious consideration to this urgent matter confronting our communities. There is far too much blood flowing in the streets of our great nation to ignore this issue any longer.
Yours in Christ,
Morris Henderson, D.Min.