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weekly update – august 1, 2019

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In this issue…

In Connecticut: Community Conversation on Harm Reduction in New Haven

#RockReform10: Legal Action Center on the 10-Year Anniversary of the Rockefeller Drug Laws Reform

Remembering Eileen Corcoran

In Connecticut: Community Conversation on Harm Reduction in New Haven

The Katal team including Kenyatta Thompson, Erin Corbett, Dajuan Wiggins, and Keith Brown, facilitating our first Connecticut Community Conversation on Harm Reduction in New Haven.

On Wednesday, July 31, following the Connecticut Funder Briefing co-hosted by KatalThe Perrin Family Foundation, and the Tow Foundation, Healthy & Just CT—the coalition convened by Katal—held Community Conversation: Harm Reduction in New Haven.

With a heavy thunderstorm raging outside, community members from across the city coalesced to create solutions and action items on the long list of pressing issues impacting New Haven. Through the lens of harm reduction, the conversation spanned criminal justice, housing, employment, education, power and more. Participants discussed harm reduction as a practice, and explored action steps for addressing community problems.

Additional Community Conversations will be scheduled in the months ahead. Stay tuned with our work to learn upcoming details about how to join us for the next one.

Check out our Twitter thread from the Community Conversation here.

Check out our Twitter thread including photos and videos from our Connecticut Funder Briefing here.

New Haven Community members engaging in small group discussions during Community Conversation.

Join us at our next Healthy & Just CT meeting, Thursday, September 12 by registering here! For details about our next Monthly Member Meeting, contact Kenyatta Thompson at or 860.937.6094.

#RockReform10: Legal Action Center on the 10-Year Anniversary of the Rockefeller Drug Laws Reform

Our new contribution for the #RockReform10 project comes from the Legal Action Center’s (LAC) Tracie Gardner, Vice President of Policy; Anita Marton, Senior Vice President; and Arianne Keegan, Communications Associate.

In their opinion editorial for Filter Magazine, they discuss Carmona V. Ward and the failure of the Supreme Court to act; the advocacy and coalition building history that led to the passage of reform; and 4 sets of proposed reforms to shift our country from a focus on punishment, to treatment and recovery as we currently face the latest overdose crisis and rank as the world’s leading incarcerator.

Check out their #RockReform10 piece here.

You can follow this project by tracking the #RockReform10 hashtag on social media. If you’d like to contribute your own reflections for the project, have questions or just want to connect about it, please contact us at We may not be able to publish every contribution, but we will do our best.

By marking and reflecting on a movement victory like this, we hope to uncover and share stories, insights, and tools that will strengthen our collective organizing, so that we can more swiftly and effectively bring an end to mass incarceration and the war on drugs. We hope you’ll join us!

Remembering the Life of Eileen Corcoran

Reflection from Katal’s Keith Brown: 

Earlier this month the harm reduction world suddenly lost Eileen Corcoran, an incredibly fierce advocate and ally. I first met Eileen during a delegation visit by Albany, NY to Seattle’s Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program and was immediately struck by her spirit and dedication to helping people by any means necessary. She understood better than most about what works and doesn’t work in reaching and engaging people. We connected quickly and talked about how she wanted to move east to be close to her family, especially her grandchildren.

I was grateful to be able to hire her to work in my own program, where she unsurprisingly created deep lasting relationships with all who worked with her. As a panelist at Katal’s Toward Justice event in 2017, Eileen spoke pointedly about how people should be treated to best meet their needs.  After she moved to New Jersey we stayed in touch regularly and I can’t overstate how much Eileen’s knowledge and friendship meant to me both personally and professionally. Eileen, more than anyone else, was who I turned to for advice and direction or to just vent about my own frustration when it comes to the role of the police in our work. I can hear her saying, “You know Keith…” when she thought I was being too stubborn. The best Eileen advice always started this way.

Above all though, Eileen had a warm strength that was a force of gravity to anyone who met her. I’ll also remember her as one of the great huggers. We at Katal send love and extend our heartfelt condolences to Eileen’s family, friends, and loved ones during this time. We are forever grateful for Eileen’s leadership and friendship.

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