Russell Simmons' Hip-Hop Summit Action Network Pulls Out Of March On New York

Group cancels due to safety concerns, VMAs.

Russell Simmons' Hip-Hop Summit Action Network announced on Wednesday that its large-scale March on New York, planned to coincide with the first day of the Republican National Convention, has been canceled.

"Due to increased security measures and safety concerns around the Republican National Convention, and the timing of the MTV Video Music Awards in Miami ... the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network has decided not to participate in the March on New York," the group said in a statement. "The large-scale march we had originally planned, given these circumstances, is not now feasible."

Plans for the march, intended to raise public awareness about New York's Rockefeller drug laws — which mandate prison terms for individuals found guilty of possessing small amounts of drugs — were originally announced back in April (see "Russell Simmons To Greet GOP Convention With Hip-Hop March"). The network then began the process of applying for a permit to march and rally on August 30, the first day of the RNC. When HSAN learned that other groups, including Still We Rise — a civil-liberties organization — also intended to march on that date, they filed a joint application with the New York City Police Department, and the protest officially became known as the March on New York: Still We Rise.

"We wish ... the Still We Rise coalition all the best for success in their mobilization, march and assembly on August 30," the network said. "The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network will make a donation to Still We Rise in support of them. HSAN looks forward to continuing its work to increase public awareness around the unfairness of the Rockefeller drug laws."