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katal newsletter – september 9, 2018

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In this issue…

Reflecting back upon International Overdose Awareness Day 2018

A Question of Compassion: Parole for People Aging in Prison


reflecting back upon international overdose awareness day 2018


On Friday August 31st, Katal along with partners from the End Overdose NY Coalition held a rally and speak out at the NY State Capitol for International Overdose Awareness Day. Some highlights of the event included poignant comments from Lauren Manning of the Albany Center for Law and Justice on racism and the War on Drugs that included the remarkable statement that “my people didn’t get treatment, they got jail.” Lauren also made a demand for a truth and reconciliation process around repairing the harms inflicted on communities of color by the War on Drugs.

Diana Aguglia of the Alliance for Positive Health called for more syringe exchange and other harm reduction resources in rural areas and staff from Project Safe Point offered on-site training in overdose prevention and response using Naloxone. After putting on an incredibly moving remembrance ceremony at their memorial garden, Micky Jimenez of Camino Nuevo and Capital District Latinos described the many ways medication assisted recovery with Methadone and Buprenorphine has given people the tools to get better.

Assembled media and participants were struck by the display of grave markers arranged in front of the Capitol brought from Broome County by Alexis Pleus and the Rainmakers from Truth Pharm. In her speech, Alexis demanded that her family’s grief and loss due to overdose not be in vain and stated that, “if we had safer consumption spaces my son might still be alive.”


Grave markers brought by Alexis Pleus and the Rainmakers from Truth Pharm in front of the Capitol. 


In bringing the event to a close, Katal’s Lorenzo Jones shared several heart-wrenching stories about his family’s losses stemming from stigma, structural racism, and bad public policy. Then Lorenzo transformed that into a call for unity among all people to fight these things together. “Of all the reflections I could make, the most striking is how incredibly diverse our crowd was. We had Black and Brown people standing together with rural white folks, people in recovery standing with active drug users, treatment providers standing with harm reductionists, and so on,” said Katal’s Director of Health and Harm Reduction and event organizer/MC Keith Brown.



(Photo Credit: DaiJohn McLaurin)


a question of compassion: parole for people aging in prison



On Wednesday September 12, our colleagues at Release Aging People in Prison: RAPP Campaign and Vera Institute of Justice are hosting an event called A Question of Compassion: Parole for People Aging in Prison, to hear from those directly impacted by compassionate release policies, the medical professionals trying to get help for people aging in prison, and the advocates trying to change the system. The program will open with a TED-style talk by Jose Saldana, organizer at RAPP, followed by a panel discussion. Panelists will include: Leon Digard (moderator), Senior Research Editor, Vera Institute of Justice; Jose Saldana, formerly incarcerated organizer with RAPP; Laura Whitehorn, formerly incarcerated organizer with RAPP; Rachael Bedard, Director of geriatrics and complex care services with the Division of Correctional Health Services in NYC Health and Hospitals; and Melissa Tanis, member of RAPP. 

A small wine and cheese reception will be held at 5:30 pm, with programming to start at 6:30 pm. For more details and RSVP click here.


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