Latino Youth Speak about Drug Policy and the Potential for Reform

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    • 00:00


    • 00:03

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS: Baby, you worked for this.[APPLAUSE][Roosevelt University Illinois Consortiumon Public Policy, Policy Studies Organization,The international association for decision makers,SSDP, Students for Sensible Drug Policy,Fifth Annual Forum on Drug Policy,April 17, 2015, Part 2 of 2, Video by]

    • 00:06

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS: Illinois Consortiumon Drug Policy, as a student, I like you stand.And I want you to come in here.So Justina, come here.[APPLAUSE][Latino Youth, Drug Policy and the Potential for Reform]Now, this is not anywhere near all of the studentsthat we have touched, reached.This is, I mean, it's probably 50 students, yeah, at least.And so, you know what?

    • 00:27

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS [continued]: Give these guys a round of applause.Because they're the ones who are doing all of the work.My face is in the paper.But they do all the work.So I want to say that again, to reiterate,the reason why we've been able to do what we've doneis by utilizing youth.

    • 00:48

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS [continued]: And youth come with fresh ideas.And they come.And they're willing to take on the challengesthat sometimes adults, who are jaded, are like,I'm not touching that.So I just want to say, again, shout out to youth.I'm really excited about this next panel.We're going to-- I know Mike is like, I'm not young.I'm not youth.We're like, well, but he's the expert, right?

    • 01:12

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS [continued]: Yeah, so, once you have a kid, itfeels like, maybe I'm not youth anymore.ButI'm really excited about this panelwe've got-- a couple of SSDP members on the panel.And I'm going to turn it over to Roman Rivera.I think he can introduce everyone just fine.He is from U of C. And let it go.

    • 01:36

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS [continued]: All right.

    • 01:39

      ROMAN RIVERA: Hello.Oh, good.All right.So my name's Roman Rivera.I'm a third-year student at the University of Chicago.And I'm the Vice President of the SSDP Chapter there.And to my left is Dani.And she is a journalist and graduatestudent at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern.And further down is Mike.And he is currently the Executive Director

    • 02:01

      ROMAN RIVERA [continued]: of Enlace Chicago.Right?And he's been so since 2010.And then, Vilmarie Narloch is a board member of SSDP,and has worked for the ICDP for how many years?

    • 02:13


    • 02:15

      ROMAN RIVERA: A long time.Yeah, and so now I'd like to start with our first question.What are the drug policy issues thathave the greatest impact on Latino youthand, specifically, those in Chicago?Let's start with you, Dani.

    • 02:30

      DANI ANGUIANO: Sure.Well, I am not originally from Chicago.I'm originally from California.And I've lived here for about six months.So It'd probably be a little easierfor me to speak to it from my perspective.But I think one of the larger issues, that I'veseen firsthand is the really high rates of incarcerationfor low-level drug offenses.We introduce people to the system who don't really

    • 02:52

      DANI ANGUIANO [continued]: belong in the system because of our skewed drug policies.So I think that's one of the largest issues and one thingthat I've seen multiple times firsthand.And to speak to my own experience,both my parents have been in jailon drug offenses, primarily low-level drug offenses.And so it's a destructive drug policy.

    • 03:14

      DANI ANGUIANO [continued]: And that's just one of, I think, many issues.

    • 03:18

      ROMAN RIVERA: Mike?

    • 03:21

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ: So first of all, thank you for having me.It's a pleasure to be here on a beautiful Friday evening,afternoon, I should say.I'm really looking forward to hanging out with my daughterand playing later tonight.As Katie said, I am a jaded adult.[CHUCKLING]Excited to be one.

    • 03:42

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: But I think I've been jaded back and forth.So hopefully, I'm on the good side of jade right now.So I am the Executive Director of Enlace.Our mission is to improve the quality of lifeof Little Village residents.And Little Village is the largest concentrationof Latinos in the Midwest.You might know this as 26th Street, the Second Bank

    • 04:04

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: of [INAUDIBLE].You might also know Little Village by 26th and Cal.Do you know what's on 26th and Cal?[SIDE CONVERSATIONS]

    • 04:12

      AUDIENCE: The largest agriculture facilityin the United States.[CHUCKLING]

    • 04:15

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ: No, they got a Popeye's on the corner.That's what I--[LAUGHTER]Yeah, the County Jail.That's the eastern port of entry to the neighborhood.I thought, in reading this question,I thought what I'd prefer to do is give a little bit of broaderbackground on the situation about youth, particularly

    • 04:37

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: as it relates to Cook County JTDC and then, nationallyas well.And I promise to that in under 30 seconds.

    • 04:44

      ROMAN RIVERA: Do it.

    • 04:45

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ: OK, I'm lying about 30 seconds.

    • 04:46

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS: So JT-- say what it is again.

    • 04:49

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ: So Juvenile Temporary Detention Center.And just incarceration, in general, so Latinosmake up about 26% of the City of Chicago's population,and a smaller percentage of the state of Illinois' populationthan that.But we're the fastest growing group in the state of Illinois,and the largest minority in the state.However, in state of Illinois and Cook County,

    • 05:10

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: we're actually underrepresented in the juvenile justice system.But nationally, we are certainly overrepresented, right?And the distinction between are underrepresentation, herein the state, is that we have a large African Americanpopulation.And the African American population

    • 05:30

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: tends to be extremely overrepresented, right?So if it wasn't for the overrepresentation of AfricanAmericans in the system, Latinos would beoverrepresented in the system.And as a matter of fact, the way wetrack Latinos in our criminal justice systemactually does not paint a full picture

    • 05:51

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: of the disproportionality between blacks and whitesin the system.Because many times, Latinos are coded as whites in the system.[SIDE CONVERSATIONS]Matter of fact, in town of Cicero,which is 85% Hispanic, Mexican American mostly,85% of those arrested were white over the last decade.

    • 06:13

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: But their last names were Rodriguez, Sanchez,and Salazar.[LAUGHTER]Law firm, right?So our organization, in partnership with the NationalCouncil of La Raza and Models for Change,and friends here have worked on reallylooking at how coding happens in the state of Illinois.So when I think about what the greatest impact on youth

    • 06:36

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: in general, I think the misclassification of Latinos,in our system, it leads to some major issues in the way welook at data, and the way we interpret data, right?And as well, Latinos are largely undercounted in the system.We did a study of the seven points

    • 06:57

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: for the juvenile justice system in the state of Illinois--the nine points, forgive me.And only two of those points actually coded for Latinos.So just recently, we got some legislation passed that codesfor Latinos at the arrest point throughout the state.And we're looking to expand that moving forward.I would be remiss not to talk about

    • 07:19

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: drug laws and, particularly, marijuana laws,and how that impacts Latino youth.And it already impacts Latino youth throughout the country.But I'll leave that to my fellow panelists to go deeper in, so.Sorry, that 30 seconds turned into [INAUDIBLE].

    • 07:33

      ROMAN RIVERA: Vilmarie?

    • 07:34

      VILMARIE NARLOCH: Yes, hi.So that's a great point, Mike.What drug policy issues have the greatest impact on Latino youthhere?We don't really know.It is not clear because of what you mentioned.I will definitely piggyback on the fact thatmarijuana policies here, just like we discussedin our last panel, it's definitelya bit of a patchwork policies that,

    • 07:56

      VILMARIE NARLOCH [continued]: and tend to impact certain parts of our citywhere we have predominantly Latinos living.One thing that I did want to touch onthat number of questions really get to you.But it's something that came up this week that impacted megreatly-- or I guess, my people greatly, being Puerto Rican--

    • 08:18

      VILMARIE NARLOCH [continued]: is I don't know if you guys saw the story about this,the wrap-around about--

    • 08:23


    • 08:25

      VILMARIE NARLOCH: Yeah, yeah, Puerto Rico shippingtheir heroin addict to Chicago.So as a Puerto Rican living in Chicago,I'm still sort of stewing on this storyand not really knowing how to react.I'm pretty emotional about it, actually,angry about it, obviously.So, yeah, that's an issue that I think

    • 08:46

      VILMARIE NARLOCH [continued]: is something that we could definitely be addressing also.

    • 08:49

      ROMAN RIVERA: We're definitely goingto talk about that article a little bit later on.The second question I have is we allknow that US drug policies heavilyimpact the states around us, specifically, Latin Americaand in Mexico, especially.And so what do you think that the impact of drug policiesare on the undocumented youth and adults

    • 09:11

      ROMAN RIVERA [continued]: that enter these countries, or this country?Dani?

    • 09:15

      DANI ANGUIANO: Sure.I think, from what I've seen, it'son a person-to-person level, is it causes you to live,people who already live in fear to live in greater fear.And if I can just put a quick note.Throughout this panel, you're probablygoing to see me speak to more personal things ratherthan policy things.Because that's where my knowledge is.

    • 09:36

      DANI ANGUIANO [continued]: And yeah, so it takes a group of people who are already,I think, shunned and ostracized by American society,causes them to live in fear even more so.

    • 09:49

      ROMAN RIVERA: Michael.

    • 09:52

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ: So I think this is a bit of a complicatedquestion.Because the thing that I want to talk aboutis not undocumented youth when I talk about US drug policies.I want to talk about the fact that our drugpolicies, essentially, end up moving tons if drugs from Latin

    • 10:12

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: America to this country, but then also moves a bunch of gunsthe other way, right?When you think about the cartels,when you think about the gangs that have alreadybeen transported from the States and have moved to Latin Americato cause mayhem there.And it's really being forced the fact

    • 10:32

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: that a lot of low-wage, lower educated individuals,in Latin America, really don't have a place there.So they really try to find their place here in the country.The one thing I will talk about, as far as undocumented youth,is the fact is is that they are largely much more, forgive me.

    • 10:52

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: They are less likely to be involved in an arrest,or in a crime, or report a crime.They're just kind of off the map.The fact is, when we think about young people whoare involved in negative lifestyles in our community--and, by the way, Little Village was just number 30 communityarea on the map that's called South Lawndale, but LittleVillage.

    • 11:14

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: We have the largest number, raw number,and percentage of the undocumentedin the state of Illinois.Or 8,000 residents, 20,000 are undocumented and about halfof our population's under the age of 25.So undocumented youth is a major, major groupin our community, and a group that, really, is actually

    • 11:35

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: very aspiring, very much not on the wrong side of the law,outside of their status, right?And I've even argued that that shouldn't even beon the wrong side of the law.But that's another topic, I think.So I just want to make sure that folksdo know that undocumented youth are much lesslikely to be involved in the criminal justice system,definitely.

    • 11:56

      VILMARIE NARLOCH: So, I think, one of the thingsthat I see, in my day job, I'm a therapist out in Joliet.And I work with a lot of folks, Latinos with documentsand undocumented.One of the things that I see, that's a big stressor for them,is their families are back home, back in their home countries.And the concern that they have for them living

    • 12:18

      VILMARIE NARLOCH [continued]: in these areas, where there is a lot of drug cartelactivity and violence happening, and howthat impacts their daily life.We've had very little communication with them,and yet still trying to sort of get by day-to-dayand make a life for themselves and their family here.

    • 12:38

      ROMAN RIVERA: So according to recent research,Latinos have shown to be more progressive on drug policyreform issues than Americans?And why do you think that might be?Vilmarie?

    • 12:50

      VILMARIE NARLOCH: I've thought about this questiona little bit.I wasn't totally sure.I think one of the things that could potentiallybe involved in this is immigration issues,and is someone has drug crime on their record,they're likely to be deported, could be possibly pretty high.So that's one thing that I think people think about a little bit

    • 13:11

      VILMARIE NARLOCH [continued]: when they're thinking about their beliefson drug policy and drug policy reform.

    • 13:18

      ROMAN RIVERA: Michael?

    • 13:19

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ: Because they're listening to me.[CHUCKLING]No.I mean, I think I really like the factthat you were going to go anecdotal on your own story.And I'd like to talk about my own story.The fact is is that when I was a young person,the first time I knew that I was no longera child was when I was 13.My uncle was high.And he was going after this other guy, in the neighborhood,

    • 13:41

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: we thought that murdered my other uncle a month beforehand.And instead of sending me inside, they said, "No, help ushold him back."

    • 13:49

      AUDIENCE: And you was a part of all that?

    • 13:49

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ: Right?That was the time that I knew I was no longer a child, right?But that interaction, with the criminal justicesystem at that point, because the cops came.And they beat the daylights out of my uncle, right?I think needs defend like mine to really question our justicesystem, right?And thank God that I was able to be

    • 14:12

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: able to get a formal education and become involved with peoplelike my friend, here, Katie.And I saw Esther earlier, and Stephanie, and peoplewho have really influenced me in my thinking,and what I should be reading, and whoI should be listening to.But I think that that's a similar situationin the African American community as well.

    • 14:33

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: But I think that both communities, if you ask them,do you want more police in your neighborhood,it would be a really mixed bag, right?There'd be some people who are like, heck, yeah,we want more police on our streets.And then, you have other folks who'd say,that's not the answer, right?So I don't know if I have a good answer to your question.

    • 14:53

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: I thought your answer was really insightful, right?I didn't even think about that, about immigration status.I think that that makes a lot of sense.But I think that there's no clear answer to this,to be quite honest with you.I look to you guys to inform me.I don't know what to say.

    • 15:10

      DANI ANGUIANO: Yeah, I thought it was a pretty hard question,I think.And, again, I really liked your answer.I think that made me think about it a little bit differently.In my own experience, and I would saythis is true for African Americans as well.But in my own experience, I think, growing upwith this sort of rhetoric regarding the war on drugsand that drugs are bad, and then,watching my parents be arrested for drug use,

    • 15:31

      DANI ANGUIANO [continued]: it's something that's really hard to reconcile.And as I grew older into adulthood, yeah,I think it allowed me to think about it a little morecritically to what that does, and what it does to families.But again, it's not something that's for African Americansas well, not just Latinos.

    • 15:47

      ROMAN RIVERA: Speaking of families,are there any consequences to US drug policythat impact Latino families and transnational familyrelationships.Dani.

    • 15:56

      DANI ANGUIANO: Sure.This is a really interesting one for mebecause of my family history.And looking at how US drug policy shapes Mexican politics,essentially, and how US drug policy has,basically, allowed a criminal enterpriseto form that's responsible for the death of tens of thousands

    • 16:17

      DANI ANGUIANO [continued]: of people.And so, for me, I think the way I'veseen that consequence come to lightis my own family, in Mexico, and how the drug war changedtheir life, the drugs that are being shipped to the UnitedStates.And then, a lot of my family, theycan't go back to their hometown, Mexico, and visit.Because drug violence becomes so common.

    • 16:38

      DANI ANGUIANO [continued]: And it's very dangerous.So, yeah, I think that relationshipbetween my family in California and my family in Mexico,there's where I've really seen it.

    • 16:47


    • 16:49

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ: You have to keep on theme with the anecdotal,I haven't been back to Monterrey, Mexico in 10 years.And I was there, previous to that,every year, right, visiting my family,my aunts and uncles who are still there,my distant family who are there, cousinswho have gotten married there, had their quinceanera,their sweet 16.

    • 17:14

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: One of my family members passed away.And we just chose not to go.Because our family said, "Hey, listen,foreigners coming into the country right now,"particular in Monterrey, which isthe northern big city in a way that Chicagois the third largest city.Monterrey is very similar, in that way, in Mexico.

    • 17:35

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: And my family was like, "No, you guys should not come."Right? "The cartel is here.It's crazy what's going on in the country."And I think things are changing a bit.And I'm hopeful.But that's a everyday reality for myself--a college-educated individual, whohas a graduate degree from the University of Chicago, right?

    • 17:55

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: I mean, think about folks who don't have the social capitalthat even I do, right, in that respect,and their ability to be able to go back and forth becauseof this mayhem.The other obvious consequence of US drug policy,in particular to how it pertains to immigration status,if you get caught with any kind of low-level or mid-level kind

    • 18:22

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: of drug offense, and your undocumented,you got a one-way ticket.And coming back probably is not an option.So it's a difficult situation for our community to be in.And again, a lot of the reason that peoplestay underneath the radar, that are undocumented,is precisely because of these issues.

    • 18:42

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: And that has ramifications, right?People undocumented are less likely to callthe police or report work, wage theft, or thingsof that nature, right?They're just trying to stay under the radar.And that creates a third class in our society that's really,really depresses of equality of life for all Chicagoans,

    • 19:04

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: I would argue, or all folks in our country.

    • 19:07

      VILMARIE NARLOCH: Yeah, I think that when you guys touched on,with your own families, is a lot of what I see with the clientsthat I work with as well, strugglingto either be able to talk about their families.Because they're afraid to say something thatmight get someone deported.Even though that's not what I do.

    • 19:29

      VILMARIE NARLOCH [continued]: But that's definitely a huge issue that I, like I said,hear more than I deal with.As far as my own experience with my own family, and Puerto Ricohas often become a bit of a hub drug trafficking to the US.And so there's a lot of violence there as well.And I've had family members that have been victims

    • 19:49

      VILMARIE NARLOCH [continued]: of pretty serious crimes as a result of peopledoing their share of drug business through Puerto Rico.And it's pretty scary.

    • 20:01

      ROMAN RIVERA: Mike, could you describe a little bit moreabout the situation in Mexico, specifically in relationto the US drug policies themselves,and how they've shaped the political climate in Mexicotoday?

    • 20:12

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ: I'm not an expert, whatsoever,in what's going on in Mexico.I was born here in this country.I've lived all my life pretty much in the Village.So my experience really is here in this country.What I do know anecdotally, as I stated before,is my family in Mexico, they tell us not to come, right?

    • 20:39

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: And we've had, family members, distant family members,who were taken by the cartels, and taken for ransom, right?And I can't help but think that our drug policies,in this country, are the reasons for that,that quality, lack of quality of life in Mexico, right?

    • 21:01

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: And forgive me for just talking about Mexico.That's where half my family's from.The other half's Puerto Rico.But we lost contact with that part.But we're not even talking about Colombians,and Central Americans, and Venezuelans, and the impacton quality of life in those countries,as well, because of our drug policies.I was just talking to someone we just

    • 21:21

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: hired on the staff who's from Columbia.And she was talking about how their country wasravaged in the '80s and '90s because of drug policies here.And this war on drugs really became a waron inner city communities here, in the cities, in our cities,and urban centers here in the country.But it really became a war in Latin America,all over Latin America, particularly in Columbia.

    • 21:42

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: Now, has shifted to Mexico, right, that drug trafficking,and that origination of drugs has shifted to Mexico.They've cut out the middle man, if you will,the cartels in Mexico have.So Columbia's become up a bit more peaceful in that respect.But yeah, I wouldn't venture to be

    • 22:02

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: able to talk from a perspective and expert on howit is to live in America.

    • 22:09

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS: Roman, do we had a study area of yours?

    • 22:13

      ROMAN RIVERA: A little bit, yeah.

    • 22:15

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS: So perhaps youcan answer your own question.

    • 22:19

      ROMAN RIVERA: It comes down to an economic issueof high demand in the United States.And well, while we can probably enforce, well, to some extent,properly enforce laws concerning production of or of drugsin other countries, where our foreign policyand our own political climate have messed things

    • 22:41

      ROMAN RIVERA [continued]: up a little bit, they can't as easily.And therefore, gangs and drug traffickerscan better take over.And El Salvador, I believe, for instance, thereare a lot of people, in the United States,who are illegal immigrants from there,at about the '80s and '90s.And when we couldn't figure out how to get them in jailand keep them in jail, we ended up deporting them.And what do gang members go, they

    • 23:03

      ROMAN RIVERA [continued]: back to a less stable country do whentheir in that less stable country?Well, they make really powerful gangs that terrify peopleand cause them to immigrate to United States by large numbers.And that's also seen in Mexico, very obviously, today.Yes?

    • 23:21

      AUDIENCE: Are some South American countriesmaking their own path when it comes to drug lawsand not kowtowing to the American way?I thought that some South American countries maybehad changed some of their old policieswithout listening to the Americans, who say,you can't do that.

    • 23:37

      ROMAN RIVERA: Most definitely.I think, it's either Paraguay or Uruguay.

    • 23:41

      DANI ANGUIANO: It's Uruguay.

    • 23:41

      ROMAN RIVERA: Uruguay.Uruguay has just legalized marijuana?

    • 23:43


    • 23:44

      ROMAN RIVERA: And--

    • 23:45

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS: Uruguay has a voice.And they have a very different system then, say, Colorado.

    • 23:51

      ROMAN RIVERA: The US influence has been a little bitselective.But we really love messing with Mexico, which I think tell--and Columbia, and a few other places.But definitely, it's possible for countries--

    • 24:03

      KATHLEEN KANE WILLIS: Don't forget Nicaragua.I mean, that was a while ago.But, still.

    • 24:07

      ROMAN RIVERA: Oh, no, it's still definitely affected today.But, yes, definitely other countriescan forge their own path.And the countries that you are in better positions than whatother countries have today, most definitely, yeah.So we could we open it up to our audience questions,if there are any?

    • 24:25


    • 24:26

      AUDIENCE: OK, to what extent--

    • 24:28

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS: We will wait.

    • 24:29

      AUDIENCE: --has fear of the cartels permeate Hispanicculture in America.And is the only solution, the only one that I can think of,is total decriminalisation to take the mind outof the cartels.

    • 24:51

      AUDIENCE [continued]: I mean, are there alternatives?Because seems to me that it's more likelythat paranoia, in the Hispanic community here,would grow as a result of the cartels.

    • 25:10

      ROMAN RIVERA: Mike would you like to take this?

    • 25:12

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ: So it's interesting.Because that very topic has been a hot topic in the past twoyears, particularly with the change in regimes in Mexico.The previous several regimes, in Mexico,were hands-off with the drug cartelsin that it was a under the table deal, if you will,

    • 25:34

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: that they can operate if they don't terrorize the people.And once the conservatives won in Mexico, theystarted terrorizing the cartels, which, shoot, pardon me,I don't have a problem that.

    • 25:55

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: But what ended up happening is the cartels started terrorizingpeople, right?It's a really interesting thing.So now that control has gone away from the Conservatives,in Mexico, and back to the middle party, the PRI,you guys have heard of Chuy Garcia, right?I know, our former Executive Director.

    • 26:13


    • 26:14

      AUDIENCE: Chicago has [INAUDIBLE] Hector Garcia.

    • 26:17

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ: He was the first personto bring it up to me, [INAUDIBLE] Mike,now that they've changed their regime, whatdo you think about the fact that cartels would potentiallyset up shop here in States.Right?And I think that, largely, has not happened.Here in the States, it seems to me

    • 26:39

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: like the connections from the local, from the cartels,abroad, here, their connections hereare more likely to stay underneath the radar again.They're more likely not to want to involve the policeand be a part of killings, and murders, and thingsof that nature here.Because they don't want to mess up

    • 26:60

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: their supply chains or their demand chains, if you will.But we have had those type of cartels arrested herein the city of Chicago, most recentlythe [INAUDIBLE] or the [INAUDIBLE],I forget their names-- in Little Village,were arrested and sentenced to jail.But they actually worked with the FBI

    • 27:21

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: in bringing down some Mexican cartels in Mexico.So I mean, there's certainly connections here in the States.But those connections haven't, in my opinion, necessarily ledto more violence, here in the States,or more cartel activity on the streets of, say,Little Village, if that is an answer to you.

    • 27:43

      ROMAN RIVERA: If I could comment on a little partof your statement, which was it'sabout Colorado and the recent legalization in America.That has impacted cartel activity in Mexico.They've been, obviously, selling less, right?Because if shipping costs, from Mexico to,let's say, Illinois, much higher than Colorado to Illinois,

    • 28:06

      ROMAN RIVERA [continued]: or California to Illinois, or Washington to Illinois,all these places, right?So because of legalization, and decrim,and medical in the United States, all these places,is hurting cartels.And that's fantastic.

    • 28:18

      AUDIENCE: Yep, and that is fantastic.

    • 28:19

      ROMAN RIVERA: On the down side, they've started pushing heroin.But that's a separate issue.

    • 28:23

      KATHLEEN KANE WILLIS: Well, they'vebeen pushing heroin for along time.

    • 28:25

      ROMAN RIVERA: Yeah, but not in this [INAUDIBLE].

    • 28:26

      KATHLEEN KANE WILLIS: I mean, I only-- yeah.

    • 28:27

      ROMAN RIVERA: But it's definitelyan amazing, awesome thing that we'recutting away at their supplies.And that's what decrim, and medical,and all these other ways of havingmore legalized drugs, that's what happens to drug cartels.

    • 28:40

      AUDIENCE: And what it is is a follow-up, if I might.Have any of you considered other optionsto stem carrying the light among and in the Hispanic communityhere, as cartel activity, I mean,the fact that you wouldn't go home or visit

    • 29:04

      AUDIENCE [continued]: your relatives, your family at home,suggests to me that we need to be thinkingabout some countermeasures.And I guess, my question is have youthought about countermeasures?

    • 29:24

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS: What do you mean by countermeasures?You mean in about dealing with the cartels in Mexico?Because I think they're pretty difficult. It depends on--

    • 29:32

      AUDIENCE: No, I didn't mean that.I meant to deal with the issues of growingfear of the Hispanic [INAUDIBLE] cartelsget footholds in the US.

    • 29:51

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ: There's a really interesting articleby Jackie Sarabo, who started [INAUDIBLE] Facebook pageand is now at The Bill.And she talked about the influenceof the cartels locally.And she did a pretty good investigative report on it.And pretty much, it erred on the sidethat they're not impacting the equality of life for folks

    • 30:14

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: here in the States.So I think that's probably accurate.But I think, at the end of the day,we would all probably agree on the structural policylevel of issues that are really reinforcingthe power of cartels internationally.And I really appreciate Roman saying

    • 30:38

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: I think when we further investigate decriminalization,further investigate our policies,and make them much more progressive,and makes sense, and start being smart on crimerather than tough on crime, that'swhat's really going to disempower the cartels in verymuch the same way prohibition acted here a century ago.

    • 31:03

      AUDIENCE: And I just had a commentabout you said that legalization is weakening cartels in Mexico.I think, unfortunately, that may notbe happening in the long term.Because what is happening is thatas soon as cartels find [INAUDIBLE] they'regoing to turn into other lucrative criminal businesses.

    • 31:23

      AUDIENCE [continued]: And that's happening a lot, like extortions, kidnappings,et cetera, et cetera.So I think the problem is really much more complicated.It's that we've created a situation.And I just don't think legalization is any numberthe only answer to ending violence in Mexico.

    • 31:41

      ROMAN RIVERA: Oh, without a doubt,I don't believe that if we legalizeall drugs in the United States, the criminalsare going to go away.They're heavily entrenched.And that's going to take a long time and, probably,an international effort to fix the problem.I'm sorry if I implied that.

    • 31:55

      AUDIENCE: No, but--

    • 31:56

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ: Ultimately, [INAUDIBLE]though, I respect it.But I--

    • 31:59

      AUDIENCE: But also--

    • 32:00

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ: Don't think--

    • 32:01

      AUDIENCE: Sorry.

    • 32:01

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ: Oh, sorry.Go ahead.

    • 32:02

      AUDIENCE: No, just to know, also,that another really big problem isthat I think the current government, in Mexico,is starting to use the drug war as a toolfor political repression.And I think that's exactly what the case of the 43 missingstudents is about.Because of the whole wave of drug-related violence,police enters automatically into it.

    • 32:23

      AUDIENCE [continued]: So people kind of think, well, it's drug-related.It's not.It's the government pushing groupsthat are under the radar, with the excuse that, well, it'sdrug-related.And the military is already all around the country.So it's I don't have answer, obviously.But I think these are problems that

    • 32:43

      AUDIENCE [continued]: are going to continue developing out of drug wars.

    • 32:48

      KATHLEEN KANE WILLIS: [INAUDIBLE] OK.I'm coming.I'll get to you.

    • 32:57

      AUDIENCE: I want to know which one of youwould be best equipped to answer this.But what is the Mexican legal frameworkfor all different types of drugs?And what does their prison system look like?

    • 33:13

      ROMAN RIVERA: I wouldn't want to go to a Mexican prison,like, if I was arrested there.That's as far as I know.I would guess that, also, they probablyhave gang activity in jail, as all countries do, most.But in terms of the specifics or any really enlighteninginformation, I've never had any.Does anybody?

    • 33:33

      DANI ANGUIANO: No, I'm not that into Mexican [INAUDIBLE]portion.

    • 33:38

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ: Anyone?So I think there's obvious connections between folks,particularly because of geography,and the close geography between folks whoare in this country and Mexico.But the fact is, my father came here when he was seven, right?And my grandmother was actually born here.But raised and I still came back, right?

    • 33:60

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: I don't have a depth of knowledge of Latin America.I'm a US citizen.I root for the White Sox more than I do the,you know, out there.So I couldn't answer that.

    • 34:12

      AUDIENCE: But how about the drug policiesthat they have written?I'm not familiar with it all, even.

    • 34:17

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS: What a mess.

    • 34:19

      AUDIENCE: Yeah.

    • 34:20

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ: I could tell you about their crappy immigrationpolicies.They're worse than the States.And it was a way to cheat Central America.Central Americans have the worst time.

    • 34:26

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS: In Mexico, one of the policies,actually, there's been a re-criminalization I mean,what was deemed to be, there were a couple of news stories,I can't remember.Three, four years ago, it was like, oh, Mexico decriminalizessmall amounts of drugs?It had always been that way.

    • 34:47

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS [continued]: It was a recriminalization stating the amounts tied to it.But because of the language barrier,and because of the media cycle, and so ittook Mexican nationals to be like, excuse me.No, no, no.You read this wrong.That is not correct.So I mean, I think one of the issues

    • 35:08

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS [continued]: that, when you're looking at Mexico--and we see it here as well-- justto say Ferguson, the militarization of the policeforce, in Latin America it's partly remnant of the Cold War.And then, they stuck the drug war right on top of that.We just use.And this is in violation of many international treaties.

    • 35:30

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS [continued]: You can't use the kind of surveillance equipmentfor drug war activities.But we are doing that.And so if you think about, and I mean,now I'm showing my age, when you go back to the 1980s,and when you're thinking about what's happening,

    • 35:50

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS [continued]: and in Latin America, the infrastructurewas there to flip it.There's always a war.We're always at war in Latin America in some way.It's either fighting communism, or drugs, or whatever.But it's also pumping lots of moneyinto militarizing weed stores.

    • 36:11

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS [continued]: I mean, there wouldn't be the kind of, I don't know.It's a very complicated thing.But the policies are not liberal in Mexico.

    • 36:19

      ROMAN RIVERA: But economically speaking, the cartelswant them to illegal.It's very lucrative to have an illegal trade.

    • 36:26

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS: It is.And I mean, I think, one of the issues that we run up againstis for people who are trying to fight back against the cartelsthat they're just murdered.

    • 36:35

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ: I think that it's demand.

    • 36:36

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS: I mean, in a gruesome wayand then put on YouTube.So I mean, that stymies talking back.

    • 36:47

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ: The gentleman, actually.

    • 36:49

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS: Yes.Here you go.

    • 36:51

      AUDIENCE: Can you tell us more about Enlace,what the agency is doing?

    • 36:58

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ: By the way, our financials are amazing.[LAUGHTER]They really are.They always have been.That's why I've had a lot of money [INAUDIBLE].You did say we're a great organization thatdoes good work.Steph.First of all, I want to say, I wantto make a comment about Mexico, which I think this,

    • 37:19

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: I didn't know the conversation was going to go this way.So I think it needs a little bit more context, right?And the gentlemen, in the back, brought some stuff upthat I think needs answering.Mexican society has really over gone,over the last several years, over the last decadeshas really gone through major shifts.It's become a much more cosmopolitan, Western country.

    • 37:42

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: In the last several decades, birth rateshave plummeted in Mexico.And urbanization's taken over in the country.Places like Monterrey, when I was there,resembled American cities more than theydo your historic Mexican city, if you will.

    • 38:05

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: During the Great Recession here, in the United States,Mexico was undergoing vast improvements in their economy.I'm sure that's arguable in a lot of senses.But generally speaking, they controlled for inflationand had solid growth during the last recessionthat we had here.

    • 38:26

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: So I think that there's, typically, a picture paintedof Mexico as a third world country that's really notbecoming the case.And even then, to think, when you considerthe overcriminalization and the Latin progressive thinkingon drug policy, I think it's reallybecoming a Western country in that respect,or an America in that respect.

    • 38:46

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: So I give you that.Our organization's very much concentratedin improving the quality of life of Little Village residents.And we do that through four core areas of work-- violenceprevention, which is the most parallel to the work goingon here where we're talking about doing a lot of workon education and economic development.

    • 39:06

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: We do a lot of work around community organizing.So we've been very much in the much in the forefront of policychange when it comes to immigration reform.We've had our undocumented youth come out of the shadowsand say that they're pretty much Americansin every sense of the word other than the documentation status.

    • 39:28

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: Many young people find out about their documentation statuswhen they're applying for FAFSA and can't complete the form,and ask mom and dad where their social security number is.And mom and dad say, guess what?You don't have one, right?Or the first time they try to apply for a license, right?So we've been very much on the forefront of policy change.

    • 39:50

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: For instance, we were able to getdrivers' licenses for the undocumented hearin the state of Illinois.

    • 39:55

      AUDIENCE: Woo hoo.

    • 39:56

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ: But I know.It's a great win.It happened some time again.

    • 39:59

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS: Smart, smart, smart leveraging too.

    • 40:02

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ: Yeah.But I think one thing that we worked onis criminal justice reform.And it's the space where really black, and brown,and a progressive whites can come together, and reallyform a real solid coalition on the separation of families.And it's something that we really investigated.

    • 40:22

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: The fact is that larger Latino familieshave been losing their adult to the immigrationsystem, deportation.As a matter of fact, over 2 million peoplehave been reported under our president,or under our president's watch.At the same time, largely black maleshave been separated from their families because

    • 40:43

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: of our criminal justice system.And it's a real topic area where we come together and buildcoalitions around.And it's something that Enlace's been leading the way,or leading part of the way in investigating, right,that potential coalition, and figuringout that separation of families enough that we cancome together on these issues.I think this is a long way for us to go, particularly

    • 41:05

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: with considering this last election yearin the mayoral election, right?With that concluding for us to pull together the HaroldWashington Coalition.There's a lot that we could potentially do to move forward.But I think when we learn from each other,learn from each other's issues, and figure outwhere our self interests have aligned,

    • 41:26

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: that's what we're trying to do at Enlace,and figure out how we can forward that.

    • 41:34

      AUDIENCE: Any comments on Puerto Rico's new drug treatmentpolicy for heroin addicts?I'd like to talk [INAUDIBLE].Is Chicago the only involved in that true?I'm just wondering.

    • 41:44

      VILMARIE NARLOCH: Chicago's not the only cityharboring addicts.They're shipping them--

    • 41:49

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS: Can you explain [INAUDIBLE]?

    • 41:50

      VILMARIE NARLOCH: Sure, sure, so--

    • 41:51


    • 41:53

      KATHLEEN KANE WILLIS: I mean, we don't have the clip.

    • 41:54


    • 41:55


    • 41:55

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS: We could play the clip.

    • 41:56


    • 41:57

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS: It's 10 minutes.

    • 41:60

      ROMAN RIVERA: It's a pretty straight forward story though.

    • 42:02

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS: Do you-- well,I think the story is pretty compelling.

    • 42:06

      ROMAN RIVERA: Yeah.

    • 42:07

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS: We could [INAUDIBLE]or we could try to get it on up here.

    • 42:12

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ: I think we could do a good job of summarizing.

    • 42:14

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS: I think we can too.

    • 42:15

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ: I can't But I mean--

    • 42:16

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS: I think Vilmarie can.

    • 42:18

      VILMARIE NARLOCH: Sure.So yeah, it's on WBEZ, This American Life,if you want to look into it, read about it.But so essentially, what has been discoveredis that there's a lot of homeless PuertoRicans in Chicago.And those authors of this story have

    • 42:40

      VILMARIE NARLOCH [continued]: been talking with some of these folksand found out that they were provided a free one-way planeticket by the government of Puerto Rico, the policedepartment, and the community to come to, in our casehere, Chicago for the most wonderful treatmentfor their heroin problem that you could ever imagine,

    • 43:03

      VILMARIE NARLOCH [continued]: that of course, we know here does not exist.And so they think so to come here, then supposedly,it's supposed to be involved in these 24 hour pseudo AAgroups that sound quite abusive in their practices.And of course, without any sort of resources, many of them,without really knowing much of the language,

    • 43:25

      VILMARIE NARLOCH [continued]: not knowing anyone here, not knowing where the hellthey are, end up on the streets.And they're still using heroin.Because what else do they have at that point?So yeah, so that's happening.They're also be shipped to New York, and Milwaukee,and other cities.It's not necessarily a unique practice.

    • 43:46

      VILMARIE NARLOCH [continued]: There are other places that will ship folkswith severe mental illness to other cities to be treated.And yeah, so it's a really, really, really awful,awful thing.

    • 44:01

      KATHLEEN KANE WILLIS: Can I just,I spoke to the reporter for two hoursbefore this story even broke.And I mean, were you there, Vil, when that happened?I know Gio was here.And some people working.Anyway, I mean, it's very shocking.These facilities are unlicensed.They're overcrowded.

    • 44:21

      KATHLEEN KANE WILLIS [continued]: They're run by, you cannot leave for 90 days.And then, once your there for 90 days,you become one of the leaders.So basic-- oh.

    • 44:31

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ: It's pyramiding.

    • 44:32

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS: It's for the stairs.And the basic method of treatment is shame.And they started in Mexico.They broke off a Puerto Rican, Mexican group.Because in Mexico, it's been uncovered as a like,this is not effective treatment.

    • 44:52

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS [continued]: But for some reason, it persists in Chicago.And I live in Humboldt Park, and so when the reporter called me,she said, do you see?Because what they're doing exclusively--it's not just heroin users.It's homeless, injection heroin users, often with HIV.

    • 45:12

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS [continued]: And so one-way ticket off of our island.Go somewhere else.And these people have no way, theymight keep their identification.And they leave.And they don't have any, I mean, it's cold in Chicago, right?Not today, but that's why nobody's here, I'm assuming.But that, or fewer people are here today.But in the middle of winter, can you

    • 45:33

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS [continued]: imagine your promised social workers, nurses,detoxification.And what you get is a filthy mattress, and yelled at if--

    • 45:43

      ROMAN RIVERA: And down looked.

    • 45:44


    • 45:44

      ROMAN RIVERA: And then, no AA meeting.--that's not true.That it's horrifying, and if you go, it's 24 hours, in Spanish.And in my neighborhood, it's just all over the place.It's hidden in plain sight.And I think that, to me, this storyis about the way we see drug users, in general.

    • 46:07

      ROMAN RIVERA [continued]: They're hidden in plain sight.Because we don't want to see it.And so that reporter wanted to knowwas I seeing that in Humboldt Park.And I said, well, that would explainso much of what I do see.But I don't speak Spanish.I don't mean, poorly, you know.And so she got somebody from [INAUDIBLE] to go out.

    • 46:30

      ROMAN RIVERA [continued]: And they found 90 people in like two days,that had been shipped here.So this is, what's the policy solution to that?What is the problem?Because, right?There's no treatment.There's no, we don't have enough treatment here.

    • 46:45

      AUDIENCE: No.

    • 46:45

      AUDIENCE: Poor quality, right?

    • 46:46

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS: Right.And that's not treatment.

    • 46:48

      AUDIENCE: What's the waiting list at [INAUDIBLE]?

    • 46:50

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS: I mean, [INAUDIBLE] methadone clinic?I mean, and this is the disposability of people whoinject drugs and are harmless.This is-- they are trash to get rid of [INAUDIBLE]And I mean, I suspect their way to just flush themdown the toilet. [INAUDIBLE] And I mean,

    • 47:11

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS [continued]: so that story is pretty profound on so many levelsthat the government is involved.But I think it speaks so much to howwe view people who use drugs, and particularlyinjection drugs mostly.

    • 47:29

      ROMAN RIVERA: And I don't know the data for Puerto Ricospecifically, but when we did the testdata for how many treatments [INAUDIBLE]in Illinois, over two years it went from 50,000 to 34,000.And then before that, it was at 80,000.Those spots that was cut in half in 5 years.Those spots aren't coming back.There's less funding.

    • 47:50

      ROMAN RIVERA [continued]: It's a terrible situation.And shipping people in Puerto Rico probably isn't helping it.And they should definitely have solutions there.You wanted to say?

    • 48:03

      DANI ANGUIANO: No, do we have time for that?

    • 48:05

      ROMAN RIVERA: OK.Does anyone have questions, follow-up?

    • 48:08

      VILMARIE NARLOCH: Could you go to the back?

    • 48:10

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS: Somebody in the back?Oh.

    • 48:14

      AUDIENCE: Hello.I'd like to direct this to Danielle.Danielle, you shared that you had personal experience.And I know that you're in journalism.And I would suspect that your personal experience reallyinfluences what you're interested in, possibly,and how you report.Do you find that there are challenges,

    • 48:34

      AUDIENCE [continued]: at times, for you to be objectivein covering things that interest you,that come from personal experience?

    • 48:41

      DANI ANGUIANO: Absolutely.A lot of my story is centered on drug use and drug policy.That's actually how I met Kathy.So yeah, that's a big challenge.And I think it's a challenge for any reporter.But for me, especially, I think whereas some of my colleaguesmight have trouble being sympatheticfor drug users, who they've interviewed,

    • 49:02

      DANI ANGUIANO [continued]: I have the opposite problem, where maybe I'mtoo sympathetic.And it clouds my judgment a little bit.Yeah, so that's definitely a big issue for me.

    • 49:13

      AUDIENCE: And when you're reporting,do you ever share this with your personsthat you're interviewing, or covering,or anything like that?

    • 49:24

      DANI ANGUIANO: Generally, I haven't.I mean, I haven't disclosed anything like that in detail.Sometimes, if I am interviewing someone,to make them more comfortable, I might tell them, yeah, I know.I know what you're talking about.I'm familiar with methadone.That sort of thing.

    • 49:39

      ROMAN RIVERA: I have a question for the panelists.So what are the reforms that have been recently made?And which one do you think is the most important?And where do you go from there?

    • 49:50

      DANI ANGUIANO: I could start, yeah.Well, again, going back to California,California just lost a number of cities, Californiansvoted to pass Prop 47, which wouldtake a number of non-violent offensesand reduce them from felonies and misdemeanors.And one of them was drug possession.And that's a huge step in the right direction.

    • 50:10

      DANI ANGUIANO [continued]: And considering the Latino population in California,that'll undoubtedly have a key effect on them.

    • 50:19

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ: So we got some good news todaythat Chris Bernard, from President Frankenbull'soffice, that HB 172 looks like it's going forward.That's essentially a bill to end automatic transfer,of juveniles, to the criminal court,to-- forgive me-- the adult court.

    • 50:42

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: Why that's important is about 54%of the young people who are automatically transferredto adult court actually end up pleading downto things that wouldn't have gotten them in the adult courtfrom the get.There's some folks here who can talk more about the issue,more coherently about the issue than I am.

    • 51:04

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: But I think that that's the type effort,those are the types of coalitionsmore so than one specific policy.But that type of think tank, and that type of groupscoming together on a specific issue that reallyimpacts our young people.I think those are the types of policiesthat I'm most interested in.

    • 51:24

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: We were able to get a number of Latinoserving institutions to support the bill,support the bill in session, sign on to support[INAUDIBLE] for the bill.And I think that that's not normally the case.I think Latino groups typically stay outof the criminal justice world.

    • 51:44

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: And I think we've been done a good job of beingable to get groups to see this as an important issue,not just for youth in general, but particularlyfor Latino youth as well.So I think that I'm pretty excited about.And I think this transfer reform bill,although it's not perfect that wehad to deal away from some of the thingsthat we wanted on the bill, I think it's a good effort.

    • 52:08

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: And I'm looking forward to it passing pretty soon here.

    • 52:10

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS: Hey, Mike, wait,what about the 17-year-olds now being chargedas adults for misdemeanors?Can [INAUDIBLE] talk about that one?

    • 52:18

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ: That was a good one.[LAUGHING]Yeah.But this one's more recent, right?

    • 52:23

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS: I know.I know.But that's important.I mean, that was a huge thing.

    • 52:27

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ: Raise the age?

    • 52:27

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS: Yes.Yeah, raise the age was the win last session?

    • 52:31

      KATHLEEN KANE WILLIS: See there, Mike.You don't know.

    • 52:32

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ: Two sessions ago?

    • 52:32

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS: That was a couple years ago.

    • 52:34

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ: A couple years ago?I'm certain misdemeanors and certain felonies,I believe, we were able to raise juvenile courtjurisdiction to the age of 17 for a number of offenses.That was a big win.

    • 52:49

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ: Big.Many 16-year-olds even, and many 17-year-oldswere being charged as adults for a number of crimes,for a number of allegations, I would say.And that was another big win.That was a collaborative effort, of groupsfrom throughout the state, really coming together

    • 53:09

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: and support that.And then, another big win, to be quite honest with you,was some defense that we'd been planning as well.In his infinite wisdom, our mayor, I think two years ago,wanted to increase mandatory minimums on gun possession.

    • 53:26


    • 53:27

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ: Now, I know this is drug policy group.

    • 53:30

      KATHLEEN KANE WILLIS: No, it's all tied together.

    • 53:30

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ: But I think it's tied together.

    • 53:32


    • 53:32

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ: And a number of groupspush backed on that policy.And we formed a working group to push back on that.And to save face, I think he came back and askedthose same groups to work with him on automatic expungementlegislation.That legislation didn't go as far as we wanted to as well.But we were able to get the, he wasable to get the State's Attorney off

    • 53:54

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ [continued]: of opposing automatic expungement legislation.So that was directly due to our pushbackon his efforts to increase automatic minimumson gun possession.So there's been some good wins recently.And I'm excited about the movement forward.

    • 54:12

      ROMAN RIVERA: Vilmarie.

    • 54:12

      MIKE RODRIGUEZ: That's it.

    • 54:14

      VILMARIE NARLOCH: I think as far as the thingsthat I've been involved in with SSDP,and what I've done with the national SSDP, some of the GoodSamaritan reform that we've had, that we'veworked on definitely impact young people of Illinois.The fact that they are able to have the abilityto save a friend's life if they are and at risk of overdose.

    • 54:38

      VILMARIE NARLOCH [continued]: That's a big one.And also, on college campuses, too, that'ssomething that we're working on as well.And another a little bit longer bill, but it'sstill a really useful reform is with the Higher Education Act,we talked a little bit about it in the last panel.It used to be even worse than it is.

    • 55:01

      VILMARIE NARLOCH [continued]: So SSDP and other organizations workedto change the format a little bitso that instead of lifetime arrests,the arrests just have to be while the person was involvedin school.So baby steps are something that know a lot about in drug policyreform, so.

    • 55:21

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS: Yeah, just to tie that upwith a bow to make it, it used to bethat if you had any drug conviction,you could not get financial aid, period, no matterwhen you got it.Students for Sensible Drug Policy changed that, OK?So please know you can get financial aid if you have

    • 55:43

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS [continued]: a previous drug conviction.Because people still labor under the belief that youcan not, that the retroactivity still applies.That's not true.But if you are receiving financial aid,so it's not a perfect win.But it leads in terms of opening up the doors of education

    • 56:06

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS [continued]: to people who have that history, and maybe were in recovery,couldn't even access financial aid.So I mean, and even though it wasunpublicized to a certain degree,we have actually [INAUDIBLE].Oh well, we can mail those out.Email those out to anybody who wants them.

    • 56:24

      ROMAN RIVERA: Were there any other questionsfrom the audience?

    • 56:28

      DANI ANGUIANO: Oh, I have a note, actually,about to touch on the last question,the policy in California is that if you have a drugoffense while you receive financial aid,you can't get financial aid ever again.And--

    • 56:42

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS: A reserve?

    • 56:43

      DANI ANGUIANO: Yeah, but if you have a drug offense that tookplace while you weren't receiving financial aid,then you're fine to receive financial aid.So I think it's similar to Illinois, sounds like.

    • 56:52

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS: This is the federal.I'm taking about federally.

    • 56:55


    • 56:55

      KATHLEEN KANE WILLIS: The retroactivity,and so then, there's state grants.And that is different.

    • 57:01

      DANI ANGUIANO: Yeah.

    • 57:02

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS: But I think federally,if you get a drug conviction, you can stillreceive financial aid.

    • 57:08

      DANI ANGUIANO: You can.And I know that because my father, after a drugconviction, actually went back and received his collegedegree.No, they will receive, yeah.

    • 57:14

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS: You mean while you'regetting financial aid, he might have to take [INAUDIBLE].It depends on what the conviction is.

    • 57:23

      DANI ANGUIANO: Yeah.

    • 57:24

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS: And misdemeanors don't count, so.So you know.There was something that I wanted, oh, from the earlierpanel, remember Khadine didn't make it?She was in negotiation over a 1 gram changeto the penalty structure?So, hey, I'm glad she's in Springfield doing that work.

    • 57:49

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS [continued]: And also, people should know, i.e.Dani, the panel should know that there is a bill introducedright now to do exactly what California did,which is defelonize personal use amounts.So when we started the Consortium,that was the first thing we wanted to do in 2005, 2006.

    • 58:10

      KATHLEEN KANE-WILLIS [continued]: [Latino Youth, Drug Policy and the Potential for Reform]And everybody said, "You're crazy."But now, it's happening.And we didn't even have the most popular voice like we do[INAUDIBLE][CHEERS][APPLAUSE][Roosevelt University Illinois Consortiumon Public Policy, Policy Studies Organization,The international association for decision makers,SSDP, Students for Sensible Drug Policy,Fifth Annual Forum on Drug Policy,April 17, 2015, Part 2 of 2, Video by]

Latino Youth Speak about Drug Policy and the Potential for Reform

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Panelists at the Students for Sensible Drug Policy forum discuss how drug policy and cartels affect transnational families and how immigration policy interacts with others. Drawing from both personal and professional experience, the panels highlight the experience of Mexican-American and Puerto Rican families, and they celebrate recent reforms in drug policy.

Latino Youth Speak about Drug Policy and the Potential for Reform

Panelists at the Students for Sensible Drug Policy forum discuss how drug policy and cartels affect transnational families and how immigration policy interacts with others. Drawing from both personal and professional experience, the panels highlight the experience of Mexican-American and Puerto Rican families, and they celebrate recent reforms in drug policy.

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