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A Need for Racial Justice in Harm Reduction

Where a Racial Justice Agenda Matters

The Harm Reduction Coalition’s Training and Capacity Building program launched our fourth Community Consultation Series (CCS) in May of 2011, A New Shift in Power: Black Leadership in Harm Reduction. A community-based developmental evaluation study was conducted that explores organizational development barriers for African-Americans to access leadership and decision making power within institutions and organizations providing HIV prevention services and programming using the harm reduction model.

This CCS provided an opportunity to explore and document the lived experiences of African-Americans who were working in various capacities in their utilization of harm reduction in HIV prevention. Their experiences spanned and intersected with different sub- populations of people most affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, ranging from people of different sexual orientations, gender identities, people who use drugs, and people involved in sex work to those who were formerly incarcerated.

What we know to be true is that the non-profit industrial complex (NPIC) impacts the decision making power and influence of people of color whether they work or are affiliated with organizations led by people regardless of racial or ethnic background. There is a need to build capacity building tools , that address the social determinants of health which impacts health equity among African-Americans affected by HIV/AIDS. Additionally, there needs to be mechanisms of support and mentorship for people of color in their leadership development that does not reinforce the same oppressive policies and practices produced by the (NPIC) within the context of HIV prevention.

What people said about the webinar:

“I truly appreciated all Harm Reduction Coalition Staff for putting this together, it is a topic that definitely needs more attention but a necessary conversation in the fight against the preventable infectious diseases! and to better serve communities.”

“The evaluation was quite comprehensive and highlighted many areas of development.”

“Thank you. This was an informative meeting and excellent points were made regarding power and race.”

Materials:

Concept Note

Literature Review

Slides from the Webinar

* Please note: We’re currently working on obtaining a recorded copy of the webinar and hope to be able to post it soon.

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