Clemency Recipients to Join Angela Davis and NAACP for Northern California Tour Spotlighting Racial Discrimination and the U.S. War on Drugs

Press Release March 24, 2011
Media Contact

Shayna Samuels at 212-547-6916

Last December, Kemba Smith and Dorothy Gaines, two African American women, were granted clemency by President Clinton after being sentenced to excessively long prison terms for their tangential roles in their boyfriends’ drug conspiracies.

Now, after receiving national media attention, including a Washington Post story on Smith and a Frontline series featuring Gaines, they will join professor and long-time prisoner rights activist Angela Davis (to appear in San Francisco only) and hundreds of California residents to protest the racial discrimination inherent in the U.S. War on Drugs. (African American women are imprisoned at 8 times the rate of white women.)

Speakers will stop in San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento and Fresno (please see tour stops listed below). They will pay special attention to Proposition 36 — California’s new “treatment instead of incarceration” law — calling on county administrators to solicit input on the implementation process from affected communities.

Kemba Smith, who, as a college freshman, fell in love with a drug dealer posing as a student and became entangled in his activities. A first-time offender, Smith was sentenced to 24.5 years.
Dorothy Gaines, advocate for an end to mandatory minimum sentencing. Gaines was sentenced to 19 years for her minor role in a drug conspiracy.
Dorsey Nunn, Program Director, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children.

Northern California Tour Against the U.S. War on Drugs

Stop #1 – San Francisco

WHEN: Aug 4 @ 7-9pm
WHERE: First Unitarian Church, 1187 Franklin St @ Geary
WHO: Angela Davis, Dorothy Gaines, Kemba Smith, Ruthie Gilmore (Professor of Geography at UC Berkeley)

Stop #2 — Oakland

WHEN: Aug 7 @ 7-9pm
WHERE: Wose Community Church of the African Way, 8924 Holly Street @ 90th Ave
WHO: Dorothy Gaines, Kemba Smith, Ruthie Gilmore, Dorsey Nunn

Stop #3 – Sacramento

WHEN: Aug 8 @ 3:30 – 5pm
WHERE: Capital Plaza Holiday Inn (California Room), 300 “J” Street
WHO: Dorothy Gaines, Kemba Smith, others TBD

Stop #4 – Fresno

WHEN: Aug 9 @ 7-9pm
WHERE: Ted C. Wills Community Center, 770 North San Pablo Ave, Tower District
WHO: Dorothy Gaines, Kemba Smith, John Nelum (Pres, Fresno Chap, NAACP), Dorsey Nunn

For more information please contact Lauren Leslie at Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, (415) 255-7036 ext 318

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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