"The idea was that we were going to target people that sold drugs to kids," said Kevin Ring, president of DC based FAMM, a group working to end mandatory minimums.
"Where we are is not in a school zone. But over there, it is a school zone," he told a group that included Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, ex-Steeler Will Allen and several Pennsylvania lawmakers.
Ring led the neighborhood walking tour, as attendees held signs designed to illustrate the absurdity of drug-free school zone laws. The laws, part of the war on drugs, added two years to any prison sentence if a defendant was caught selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school or daycare.
Given the density in urban areas and close proximity to schools, low-income individuals were serving long sentences for selling minor drug sales done in their own homes. In 2015, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down such laws on the grounds that process used at trial were illegal.
"It did nothing to make us safer, it did not deter drug use, but it did destroy lives, particularly black Lives," said Jenkins of school zone laws.
African-Americans and Hispanics made up more than 80 percent of school zone offenders.
Pennsylvania lawmakers like Sens. Sharif Street and Anthony Williams and State Rep. Movita Johnson-Harell told the group they will vote against such laws that increase mass incarceration.