Redemption and the War on Drugs

July 25, 2014 6:32 PM

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Redemption and the War on Drugs

I have never met Shaka Senghor, but I feel like I know him well -- at least the 19-year-old Detroiter that he used to be. When I graduated from the Detroit Public School system in 1981, I knew a lot of young guys just like Shaka -- kids who, despite the future they had imagined for themselves, soon found themselves deep in the drug economy and all of the dangers that this life entailed. Some of these kids were my closest friends. Some of them, like Shaka, ended up doing time.

When the kids I knew decided to sell drugs -- usually to customers who lived in Detroit's suburbs -- they had been, dare I say it, pragmatic. With the auto industry ever-shrinking and with funding for youth summer and year-round job training programs severely cut as soon as Reagan took office, not a...

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