Let our next greatest achievement be realizing the dream of full equality for all of us ...

- Human Rights Campaign President, Alphonso David, as reported by Maiysha Kai -

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Not One Step Back: Drug Policy Alliance’s asha bandele Talks Mass Incarceration, War on Drugs, Why She Goes Hard for Justice [Retracted]

RETRACTED (6/12/18):

This story has been removed because we have discovered it was in breach of our editorial standards. If you’d like to know more, you can read an editor’s note here.

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DISCUSSION

Kirsten!!!!!

Thank you so much for such a in-depth interview with Ms. bandele. I really don’t think there is much to say or add to this conversation that hasn’t already been stated by her. As you know, I work in this field and this interview really encapsulates how its not just addiction or substance use. It is an entire system of oppression that profits off of Black and Brown bodies. If you look at the opioid epidemic, where the narrative has been driven by Whiteness, you’ll find (white) people energized to help the addicted and funding for new treatment programs. Where in the hell was that like 20 years ago? Because the last time I checked, prescription opioids can and do lead to heroin use. But heroin has been associated with Black and Brown peoples so it’s not as sexy to “treat” or “solve”. Combined with the systemic criminalization of Black and Brown people’s substance use, you create a system where Black and Brown bodies are, quite literally, sent to die in prison. When that happens, you have a complete breakdown of familial systems and communities of color. For real, entire communities are erased and doomed because of this. And then what happens? Hope dies. Without hope, nobody can thrive.

I wish I was in Atlanta to attend the event. I am sure it will be powerful. If you go, please consider a follow-up post! I would love to hear about it and I’m sure other Root commenters would, too. This whole collaboration with the Drug Policy Alliance has been so good.