City festival aims to fight abuse of drugs


Annapolis drug abuse officials hope today's festival at the City Dock will teach people one big lesson: Drugs are everyone's problem.

"We live in our own selves so much," says Darius Stanton, Annapolis' substance abuse specialist. "But devastating things are happening in all our communities, and it's going to take people of every neighborhood and race to come over the fence and keep us from sinking."

The variety theme will be played out in music groups ranging from the African sounds of Earth Blessings to the reggae band Mamma Jamma, country and western, jazz and blues. The festival runs noon to 3 p.m.

Speakers include White House officials and Annapolis teen-agers who will talk about drugs and how to prevent and treat substance abuse.

"We want people to have a good time, but we also want to send the message that substance abuse is multi-cultural abuse," Stanton says. "Not just one race is plagued by it. We see in the media all the time -- the image is black males about 27 years old. But as we all know, the drug problem is far more extensive."

Vernessa Thomas, an Annapolis High School graduate and former leader in the school's Unity Club, will talk about the essence of being a black woman.

Youngsters from LIFE, suburban students from the city and county who present anti-drug programs in elementary schools, will speak. A children's discovery tent will feature craft projects, live entertainment and festivities. Vendors will circulate food and giveaways. One special note will be a display of sculpting by Nathaniel Parker, from the Baltimore and Dorfman Museum, whose work was recently featured in Maryland Magazine.

"We'll have a little bit of everything," Stanton says. "And we hope everyone will come."

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