Seattle Drug-War Protest Targets Christmas

Vivian McPeak, executive director of Seattle's Hempfest, speaks on the stage at Myrtle Edwards Park on August 19, 2011. (photo: Joshua Trujillo / Seattlepi.Com)Vivian McPeak, executive director of Seattle's Hempfest, speaks on the stage at Myrtle Edwards Park on August 19, 2011. (photo: Joshua Trujillo / Seattlepi.Com)On a day when most people are opening presents, Vivian McPeak has stood outside the King County Jail every Christmas in protest of America’s drug war for the last 11 years. This year will be no different.

“We think it’s symbolic to take time on this day to mark the disproportionate number of non-violent drug offenders serving time,” said McPeak, who is better known as the executive director of Hempfest.

That pro-pot celebration is a crowded, exuberant, summertime event. In contrast, the annual “Christmas Day Vigil for Prisoners of the Drug War” takes place in the dead of winter, on the dreary downtown jail plaza, with a quiet, dedicated few. Anywhere from 25 to 50 people show up.

McPeak said Christmas is a good time to remember that many people can’t be home with their loved ones.

“America is the largest jailer of its citizens,” he said, saying there’s more than 2 million people behind bars, many for non-violent drug crimes.

He hoped the vigil’s “peaceful presence” raises awareness for the need for more compassionate sentencing laws.

The vigil is from noon to 2 p.m. at the King County Jail at 500 5th Avenue.

– Article originally from Seattle PI.

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