It was so gorgeous in San Diego! We have been enjoying the 2016 Harm Reduction Conference. We got to meet a lot of people and learn some new things, too. We very much enjoyed a panel on how to reconcile the underground roots of harm reduction with its mainstreaming. What do we do under a hostile government? Which projects get funded?
It was awesome to present a poster on our work and network with so many amazing people who have been fighting the good fight since the beginning. So many of my harm reduction heroes were there! Mary Howe, Eliza Wheeler, Isaac Jackson, and so many more! The Peoples Harm Reduction Alliance and Drug User's Union made a great showing and I think it's important that they reiterated how vital it is to have people who are active drug users involved in policy making. As someone with a background in sex work this message resounded with me. We definitely fight to have our voices prioritized in a world where we are silenced and marginalized by lawmakers and even many of our own advocates.
Here's the poster I presented! Looking forward to what more data can demonstrate. Would love to talk about this more in the future!
Maggie led a webinar on outreach for SWOP-USA. It's really key to get more peer based outreach going and help train allies on how to be helpful. Not everyone should be doing outreach, certainly, and it takes a certain personality to really excel. There are so many forms of outreach, though! It matters when people tell their elected representatives that HARM REDUCTION IS IMPORTANT. It also matters when people talk to urban businesses and residences about how to interact with used supplies and help them process some of their powerful emotions. In San Francisco, residents are actively working against many harm reduction initiatives because they are ignorant about how important this work is. Outreach isn't as simple as handing supplies to people because educating the public, lawmakers, and healthcare workers is really just as important.
Our founder enjoys many hobbies and pursuits, including tarot. She was just recently interviewed about her practice and took the time to talk a little about her harm reduction work. Check it out here!
Although I am no longer practicing, I was raised Catholic. I was reflecting on the ways that Christianity essentially compels us to be harm reductionists. There are some people of faith who agree but most of the time faith based organizations are relatively hostile to some of these endeavors. One of our partners works at a Catholic soup kitchen and so we know that our supplies are being handed out there and for the same reason that food, companionship, and other services are. We definitely hope to forge relationships with faith based organizations that want to get more involved with harm reduction.
We are so happy to have successfully launched our website! This project got started in Nov 2015. Today we finally have our website off the ground!