Fostering Alternatives to Drug Enforcement (FADE)

In 2013 SpiritHouse began anchoring the “Fostering Alternatives to Drug Enforcement” (FADE) coalition. For more than thirty years America’s “War on Drugs” has had a devastating impact on Black families and communities across the country. Durham, NC  is no exception. Recent studies found that Marijuana use is virtually the same across the board for all communities. Yet Durham’s drug crime, prison population is 6.4% white,  29.1% Latino and 65.1% black. Black people make up 41% of the Durham NC population. Of all motorist searches over the past 5 years the following % were Black

SpiritHouse is working, as a coalition member of FADE, to create community-driven solutions that will drug use as a public health rather than a criminal justice issue and end the devastating war on drug.

. The work of the coalition is centered and led by Durham community members who are experiencing the greatest tensions with law enforcement. After an in-depth study revealed that Black motorists, in Durham, are over 200% more likely than White motorists to be searched by law enforcement and that Black suspects are nine times more likely than White suspects to be incarcerated for criminal conduct, the coalition spent six months educating our Human Relations Commission, city official and local residents. In the end the Human Relations Commission found that racism is embedded in the Durham Police Department. We then presented a list of five recommendations which would begin to address disparities and  create more accountability between law enforcement and the community. These recommendations were: impliment mandatory written consent to search policy for all vehicle searches, make marijuana enforcement the department’s official lowest law enforcement priority, implement a policy of mandatory periodic review of officer stop data, review and strengthen the Durham Civilian Review Board, mandate that the department participate in formal racial equity training. In August of 2014 4 of the 5 recommendations were adopted in part or in full. We are continuing to work with community members and city officials to adopt all recommendations in full.

Bull City Connector (Local)

Ban the Box (National)

movement for black lives

The Ban the Box campaign was started by All of Us or None, a national civil rights movement of formerly-incarcerated people and our families. We started the campaign in 2004, after a series of Peace and Justice Community Summits identified job and housing discrimination as huge barriers to our successfully returning to our communities after jail or prison. The campaign challenges the stereotypes of people with conviction histories by asking employers to choose their best candidates based on job skills and qualifications, not past convictions. Since 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. has a conviction history, the impact of this discrimination is widespread and affects other aspects of life in addition to employment opportunity.