Lakisha Perry, 29, hugs her daughter Stephanie Perry at California Institute for Women state prison in Chino, California May 5, 2012 (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson).
I came of age in Elizabeth, New Jersey, a suburb of Newark, during the 1980s. I witnessed and experienced how crack cocaine infiltrated and devastated Black communities. I watched people I regarded as sisters and fictive kin become victims of the crack cocaine epidemic and the subsequent War On Drugs. The 1980s signified America’s War on Drugs and Tough on Crime Era. The surge in mass incarceration rates that followed continues to be a concern for Black communities that are criminalized and more heavily policed. Historian Carol Anderson reminds us in her book White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide that, despite the stereotypes, Black people are the least likely to use drugs or engage in the illegal drug trade than any…
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