As the paradigm shifts to finally recognize racism over race as a barrier to care, it is important to build connections between stigma and racism. The current uprisings against police brutality and the disproportionately spread burden of COVID-19 are not unrelated phenomena. Understanding how we criminalize both people and their behaviors, helps us understand any epidemic as a predictable consequence of our current infrastructure. Using the war on drugs as an example, we will explore how racism and stigma were systematized and built into the systems of our society.
As we begin to reckon with histories of violence and shift focus to small, community-based methods of transforming harm and addressing conflict as it arises, it is important to develop skills in de-escalation. Being able to manage conflict while prioritizing safety requires a dynamic understanding of power, privilege, and the environment. This workshop will discuss basic de-escalation skills with a trauma-informed lens as well as discuss why disengaging from the carceral state is so important to harm reduction and the safety of our program participants.
As the face of harm reduction becomes whiter and more centered on opioids, it is important to take a step back and understand how the LGBTQIA movement is tied to this. We will begin to unpack how the criminalization of people who use drugs, and those in the queer and trans community are not just parallel stories, but ones that are coincident. Many of the leaders at Stonewall were people who used drugs – and understanding that legacy helps to build networks of solidarity. This workshop will also begin to unpack how the idea of the binary not only obstructs our understanding of gender but of the carceral state, of substance use, and harm reduction. We will also look briefly look at how the COVID-19 response has continued the criminalization of this community.