Just what is Weed & Seed?

Another garden show on cable? A hemp growing primer perhaps?  No, in alarming actuality, Weed & Seed is a U.S. Justice Department program designed to occupy and contain communities under the guise of solving their problems. It was started nationally in 1991 and now occupies more than 120 communities nationwide. Touted to neighborhoods as a benevolent program that uses increased law enforcement (their euphenism: Respect Squad) to "weed" out crime and drugs (our truism:  Weed Whackers), it also encourages drug-torn communities to believe they will "seed" in revitalization.  However, other communities who took Federal Weed & Seed monies ultimately questioned how it was used in their communities. Once in place. the "weed" component allows for federal prosecution and enhanced penalties of those arrested within the "designated zone", which can be inner city, citywide or increasingly, countywide! This includes nonresidents caught in the snare. These enhanced penalties allow for doubling or tripling the prison terms that can be imposed. Policy dictates that all drug-related crimes (possession as well as dealing) automatically become federal and victims of this policy are whisked off far from their communities to federal prisons (being built at an escalated rate of one per month) on a federal airline, smirkingly referred to as "Conair". This weeding out of the economically disenfranchised is nothing less than genocide. Massive levels of incarceration, a disproportionate number African-American, is wiping out their already limited ability to sustain a family. Artificial housing projects and years of a welfare policy bent on forcing adult males out of the family unit were integral to this destruction. Couple this with the fact that these Americans will also lose their right to vote, as felons. These criminal "disenfranchisement laws" were passed in the early part of the century to undermine the political power of African Americans. How ironic that present day criminal justice policies mirror the dreams of segregationist legislators!

Donna Rae

WEED & SEED                  St. Petersburg, FL


In a move unprecedented across the country, St. Petersburg, Florida rejected $100,000 in federal grant money in December of 1997. It wasn't that the city needed the "weed" money since their police department is in line for $1.5 million every three years from the U.S. Justice Dept. anyway. So why did they want the Weed & Seed grant monies in the first place? The community desperately wanted the "seed" money, $225,000, for treatment centers and opportunity so residents wouldn't have to engage in low level drug dealing as the last form of free enterprise in America. The community knew lack opportunity was the real evil. Seed the community and no weeding need be done. Weeding is a policy that plans for failure instead of laying a foundation for success. Little did they know that the Feds intention was to lay a foundation that prisons are built upon. A horrific foundation filled in with black chattel. St. Petersburg, after months of heated and emotional debate, essentially told the Feds to take their weed and "shove it". No longer believing the lie because the truth was too painful, this community of brave though naive heart, rejected "weed". Surprise! The Feds told them they've got it whether they want it or not! They weren't asking, they were telling. Or in the words of then Governor of California Ronnie Reagan, "If you go to bed with the government, you're gonna get screwed".

Donna Rae