40 under 40 Outstanding BIPOC leaders in Drug Policy
By Oriana Mayorga
One effective way to practice allyship and anti-racism in the drug policy movement is to intentionally uplift the voices and talents of people of color, and directly support them by booking them on your conference panels, events and through direct monetary contributions to their work. SSDP’s equity team decided to lift up 40 of the most outstanding drug policy activists of color in the United States under 40 in one handy guide for anyone who is interested in featuring stellar, powerful individuals who are already doing the work and who often go unnoticed.
This cadre of BIPOC talent is made to highlight the full spectrum of expertise available for those who are truly committed to transformational change, as are all 40 of the champions of color you’ll find below. Previous attempts at “100 Most Influential People in Psychedelics” lists were heavily dominated by white men, solely lifting individuals who already have plenty of visibility. That type of journalism fails to tell the full story, and thus will always be lacking in impact. Only by bringing the full spectrum of drug policy power to all our public discourse can we honor the sacrifices made by so many toward liberation, and ensure our community is grounded in collective liberation. The advocates below are collectively ending the war on drugs, and deserve your support.
Hire them. Pay them what they are worth.
Disclaimer: Obviously, there are way more than 40 outstanding BIPOC leaders in the overall drug policy movement and in this article we were not able to include everyone! Some of you may notice that this list includes very few young folk involved in the Cannabis movement. This was an intentional decision by the equity team given how much press folks in the Cannabis movement often receive. Lastly, since consent is very important to us over at SSDP we only included individuals who responded to our initial invitation in this article. Our equity team hopes to highlight many more BIPOC leaders in the U.S and abroad in the upcoming months.
If you know of someone who would like to be included or any suggestions on how to improve our future lists, please email Oriana.email@example.com
Phoenix AKA Mohawk “The Rebel Educationist” (they/them: formerly known as Mohawk the Educator) is a black, trans educator and technologist, who leverages vast multimedia and platforms to do advocacy and outreach for people who use drugs. They provide education and alternative, radical perspectives about drugs, drug policy, and related topics through a comedic, restorative lens. They are a harm reductionist, drug policy reform advocate, activist, and community organizer that participates in mutual aid. They are also a skilled technologist, writer, and educator. They are currently SSDP’s Web Manager for SSDP.org.
The Rebel Educationist is the technical program manager at Next Distro, a Youth RISE board member, and former regional outreach coordinator and president of New York DanceSafe, Inc., a nonprofit that started off as DanceSafe’s New York-based Chapter. As a longstanding member of music and nightlife communities, they organize and oversee harm reduction and health-and-safety outreach, centering the marginalized, in these communities within the northeast. They have collaborated with global harm reduction agencies such as ANKORS, Safe ‘n’ Sound, and Unity and organizations such as the Drug Policy Alliance and Harm Reduction Coalition. Phoenix gives lectures at Berkeley College and spreads awareness as “The Rebel Educationist” on multiple social media platforms.
Carmen Winter is a native Marylander and Washington, D.C. area based design strategist and Development Associate at SSDP.
Carmen joined Students for Sensible Drug Policy in 2019 while completing her Masters in User Experience Design at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). When she’s not advocating for drug policy reform, Carmen enjoys making art, playing golf, reading, and gaming. She played Division 1 Tennis at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) where she obtained a B.A. in History.
Mallory, the Vice Chair of the board at SSDP, runs a sex education blog called Sh!t Our Parents Never Told Us for queer folx raised by the internet to guide other queer folx on topics like gender, consent, mental health, community and relationship building, and sex work. Mallory is a data engineer working toward becoming an OB/GYN and hopes to incorporate harm reduction and sexual education into their medical practice.
venmo is @mivcv
Amna is a cannabis activist that strives to create safe spaces within the cannabis community for Womxn, POC’s, and queer folk. With the knowledge she gained by watching her family fight injustice in Sudan and the genuine interest she had for the plant she began creating informative social media content. This allowed her to connect with others in the industry that shared a genuine interest and desire to create equity in the community. From working on conferences, to panels, and hosting events to create safe spaces for survivors of sexual abuse she was able to build a network of friends and activists. It’s given her the courage to start projects she believes in even if she didn’t know how to start. Cannabis showed her how to jump into her passions, even when scared. She would never have started her online tutoring business, Bright Side Learning LLC without jumping into the deep end. Sometimes it’s worth being scared of the unknown, especially if it allows you the opportunity to help others.
Maya Tatum was born and raised on the south-side of Chicago where she experienced the negative impacts of the Drug War first hand. This aided in her passion for activism and has continued most of her life. She is a recent alumna of Arizona State University where she joined Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) in 2013 completely shifting her viewpoint on drugs and how society views (and punishes) people who use drugs. Graduating with a B.S. in Justice Studies and B.A. in African & African-American Studies, she dedicated her academic career to drawing parallels between the histories of colonialism and present-day systematic and institutional oppression, emphasizing how the ‘Political-Economic’ dynamic forms oppressive policies.
She currently serves as the Chair for the Board of Directors for SSDP, a Board Director for Repair Now, an organization focused on restoring rights to those with nonviolent offenses, and a Director for Young Gifted Hustler, a nonprofit serving youth and their families in the Chicagoland area by strengthening economic knowledge in disadvantaged communities.
Jake Plowden is the deputy director and co-founder of The Cannabis Cultural Association(CCA). He began his advocacy with Students for Sensible Drug Policy while at Baruch College, and Currently serves as SSDP’s New York State Director. He co-founded the CCA back in late 2015 in response to the lack of action and legislation geared towards equity in the growing cannabis industry. CCA curates and organizes events surrounding cannabis education, entrepreneurship, expungement, advocacy/activism, and the history of the War On Drugs’ effects on black and brown communities. Jake is also the producer and co-host of the podcast “In The Know 420” with renowned criminal attorney Joseph Bondy.
Jake and the CCA were one of five plaintiffs suing back in 2017 Attorney General Jeff Sessions and The Drug Enforcement Agency. alongside Alexis Bortell, Marvin Washington, Jose Belen, and Jagger Cote for the removal of cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act.
Scott has been involved in the movement to end the war on drugs for over a decade and has worked for or with a number of drug policy reform and harm reduction organizations in the non-profit space, including: Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition, Minority Cannabis Business Association, Drug Reform Coordination Network, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. He cares very deeply about criminal justice reform and bringing an end to cash bail, prisons and jails as we know them, and a reallocation of resources away from criminalization toward harm reduction & social services. He is the Co-founder of Repair Now, a non-profit organization which provides resources to formerly incarcerated people seeking expungement or record-sealing and the reestablishment of lost voting rights.
Scott is an experienced organizer and he has a great deal of direct action & advocacy experience related to lobbying elected officials, including four state governments, the Washington DC City Council, the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate. He has written and delivered testimony in three states and DC, and has organized, trained, and coached lobbying groups and/or written governmental regulations and laws which have been adopted in Washington DC and Maryland. Scott has been directly involved with, or adjacent to, campaigns in more than a dozen US states and DC since 2010. As a media artist, Scott hosts two drug policy-related podcasts, The Outlaw Report: Credible Cannabis News. Scott was elected to the City Council in Mount Rainier, MD in 2019.and
venmo is @scott-cecil
Rhana Hashemi is a drug educator, behavioral scientist, and program developer working to enhance the effectiveness of public health drug education strategies for youth through a harm reduction praxis. In 2016, she founded healing-centered, and equity-informed policies and practices in response to student drug use. She is currently developing a to expand educator capacity to discuss the nuances of drugs through a harm reduction and social justice lens.and has supported 15+ schools and grass-roots organizations throughout the Oakland Unified School District, San Mateo, and Marin County to replace zero-tolerance and abstinence-only approaches with science-based,
Kevin Garcia became involved in drug policy through Students for Sensible Drug Policy as a chapter leader, a member of the board and most recently as a Just Say Know program facilitator. Kevin began working in harm reduction as a health educator providing street-based syringe access services and later as a bilingual case manager servicing people living with HIV. An experienced harm reductionist, public speaker, and drug policy advocate, Kevin is a harm reduction content expert for Next Distro, a tobacco harm reduction writer for Filter Mag, and a graduate research assistant at CSU as an MSW/MPH student.
Kat Murti, co-founder and executive director of Feminists for Liberty, has held various roles at SSDP since January 2009 (including chairing the Intersectionality Committee for over 8 years) and has served on SSDP’s board since 2013.
Kat was named an Alumni All Star in 2010, a Spotlighted Alum in 2012, and the 2016 A. Kathryn Parker Outstanding Alumnus in Service to SSDP.
Kat first became involved with drug policy in 2007 as a member of DFW-NORML. She served as Bay Area Regional Director of California’s Proposition 19 campaign, and has worked at the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, and, briefly, in cannabis business law.
Kat earned her B.A. in political science from the University of California at Berkeley, and is a graduate of Oaksterdam University. She lives and works in Washington, D.C., and occasionally plays on the One Hitters softball team.
People can support my work with a tax-deductible donation to Feminists for Liberty.
Rory (she/her/ella) is the Communications Manager for Students for Sensible Drug Policy and the chapter leader of Minneapolis SSDP. She is a high school drop out and has been involved in peer harm reduction since 2012 when she was 18. In 2018, after thinking she’d never attend college, Rory started studying Addiction Counseling and was driven to do a much deeper dive into studying the War on Drugs—which was missing from being integrated into Addiction Counseling courses. Rory found SSDP when her Psychopharmacology instructor was supporting students with starting a chapter at Minneapolis College. The lack of discussions about systems, society, and other macro-level issues in Addiction Counseling also drove her to begin studying Sociology at Metropolitan State University.
Rory is an activist for major change to dismantle systemic racism. She works with local, national, and international groups and coalitions in areas like overdose prevention, the addiction treatment complex, mental health, divesting from policing/reinvesting in the community, human rights, and initiatives led by people directly impacted by the War on Drugs. Decolonization, re-Indigenization, anti-racism, intersectionality, trauma responsiveness, abolition, and harm reduction (true to its principles) are critical to Rory’s work.
Lunadelmar Suescun (She/Ella) is a Latina harm reductionist and MSW/MPH graduate student. She joined Students for Sensible Drug Policy in 2015 where she currently sits on the Board of Directors and co-chairs the Intersectionality Committee. She has experience working in harm reduction programs centering people who inject drugs. She is committed to expanding harm reduction knowledge that is based on intersectionality and de-stigmatization of drug use with a focus on Spanish language. Currently, Luna is a content expert for NEXT Distro and student coordinator for the Anti-Racism Student Action Group of the Colorado School of Public Health at Colorado State University.
And the org I would want folks to donate to is SSDP!
Vilmarie Fraguada Narloch, PsyD
Vilmarie Fraguada Narloch, PsyD. is a licensed psychologist focusing on integrated treatment of co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. She is an activist working to end the War on Drugs and advocates for science and reality-based drug education and harm reduction approaches for all. She approaches her work from a harm reductionist and humanistic lens, focusing on the individual needs of the person, group, or community. She received a certificate in psychedelic therapies and research from the California Institute of Integral Studies in 2018. She is the director of Drug Education at Students for Sensible Drug Policy and co-founder and director at Sana Healing Collective.
Donate to Sana
Queen Adesuyi (she/her) is a Senior National Policy Manager for Criminal Legal and Policing Reform at the Drug Policy Alliance. She works to advance several of DPA’s legislative priorities on the federal level, including marijuana justice reform, drug decriminalization, and eliminating collateral consequences for drug use and previous convictions. She also leads DPA’s advocacy and organizing locally in the District of Columbia, where she fights to end punitive approaches to drug use/misuse in favor of evidence-based public health and harm reduction measures, along with advocating for equity/racial justice in DC’s effort to regulate cannabis post-Initiative 71. She leads the local #DecrimPovertyDC campaign which is actively working to introduce and advance legislation in D.C. Council to eliminate criminal penalties for drug possession, address collateral consequences of drug convictions, and radically invest in harm reduction infrastructure.
Queen, a proud queer, first-generation Nigerian-American who hails from the Morris Heights/Highbridge sections of the Bronx, is an alumna from Georgetown University, where she majored in American Studies.
Donate to the Drug Policy Alliance
Paula is a queer artist, movement strategist, and community health worker conjuring transformation at the intersections of indigenous rights, racial, migrant, environmental justice and the healing arts. Paula is interested in the roles that plants, psychoactives, ceremony, ritual, music, dance, and collective experiences can play in building historical memory, advancing processes of conflict transformation, repair, and rematriation. Paula advocates for the rights of indigenous, immigrant, adolescents, and survivors within the psychedelic research & therapy ecosystem, and broader drug policy movement. Born and raised in the working class suburbs of Los Angeles, Paula descends from Mayan, Ashkenazi Jewish and Iberian ancestries.
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Luis is SSDP’s Programs Director. He first joined SSDP at Florida International University. He is passionate about ending the war on drugs.In the spring semester of 2016, he joined SSDP at Florida International University. He was elected chapter president in May of 2016. During his term as president, he focused on raising awareness around the growing opioid epidemic, naloxone access, and campaigning for Amendment 2 (Medical Marijuana in Florida). He was elected to the Board of Directors in March of 2017, and he joined SSDP staff in June of 2017. Luis studied Psychology at Florida International University in Miami, FL from 2012-2017. He interned at the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office as a victim witness counselor during the Summer of 2016. Before joining SSDP staff, he worked at the FIU Green Library, first as a student assistant, then as a guest services attendant.
Axel Bilbao ‘08 is from Buenos Aires and currently lives in Florida. He is a person in recovery from IV drug use and bipolar disorder. Axel started with SSDP at UCF in 2008 and spoke to legislators in DC for the first time at a later SSDP Lobby Day. His start in drug policy was as President of NORML and one of the founding members of PUFMM (People United For Medical Marijuana). He went on to work on crack/cocaine sentencing disparity law reform and FL medical cannabis constitutional amendment campaigns. Most recently, he worked as part of the team that passed the IDEA (Infectious Disease Eliminations Act) in Florida to expand the university of Miami needle exchange. Since 2013, he has been distributing naloxone to people who use drugs to fight overdoses. He previously worked as a peer support and harm reduction specialist at Rebel Recovery FL. He currently serves on SSDP’s Board of Directors and is Co-chair of the Intersectionality Committee.
A pioneer in the cannabis industry, Nadir Pearson is an entrepreneur specializing in digital strategy and business development. Nadir serves as Deputy Director for NJ NORML, East Coast Project Lead for Cannaclusive and is founder of SMART (Student Marijuana Alliance for Research & Transparency) a national college cannabis organization. Nadir’s past experience in digital marketing comes from his time with industry giants like High Times and Herb.co. Nadir currently serves as a contracted outreach strategist for SSDP’s efforts to reach Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Driven by a mission to make cannabis equitable for Black and Brown communities, Nadir is best known for empowering the next generation of leaders to leave their mark on the movement.
Marlo Holguin (El/Them) is a xicano and fronterizo son of immigrants, passionate about the drugs in nature and the nature of drugs; they are a fierce environmental advocate who spend most of their time making oligarchs accountable, pursuing a Neuroscience degree at The University of Texas at El Paso where he is President of the local Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) chapter. Marlo advocates for the intersectionality of ending the War on Drugs and the War on Climate- as they are strong parallels in his community organizing work in El Paso with Sunrise El Paso. As Secretary for the Board of Directors in SSDP, he hopes to include perspectives and advocacy on border issues.
He is a communist activist, abolitionist, an advocate for sensible drug policy reforms, and harm reductionist; they are a jack of all trades and a master of none. He envisions a decolonized world where SSDP and Sunrise are not needed.
Donate to Sunrise
Ismail Ali is the Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). Ismail (he/they, SSDP ’13) advocates to eliminate barriers to psychedelic therapy and research, develops and implements legal and policy strategy, and supports MAPS’ governance, non-profit, and ethics work. Ismail earned his J.D. at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law in 2016, after receiving his bachelor’s in philosophy from California State University, Fresno. Ismail was the vice-chair and then chair of SSDP’s board of directors in 2017-2019. Ismail is passionate about setting sustainable groundwork for a just, equitable, and generative post-prohibition world.
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Elan Hagens is a Portland born-and-raised educator, artist and entrepreneur. She is co-founder of Fruiting Bodies Collective and the owner of Temptress Truffles, a gourmet mushroom business which has served the Portland farmers market scene for a decade. Elan is an outdoor educator leading the way in diversifying Oregon’s outdoors community and teaching about wildcrafting, land sovereignty and access. With background in Black studies and public health, Elan infuses her lived experience into her work with schools, racial justice organizations, and the community at large. Her focus is on strengthening the local community and ensuring that psychedelics are not treated as a cure-all but woven into the fabric of a healthier and more just society.”
Jamilah R. George, M.Div
Jamilah R. George, M.Div., a performing artist, social activist, and native of Detroit, MI, obtained dual-bachelor’s degrees from the University of Michigan and a master’s with honors from Yale University and the Institute of Sacred Music. She is now a Clinical Psychology Ph.D. candidate at the University of Connecticut with a concentration in indigeneity, race, ethnicity, and politics (IREP). Her research interests include obsessive-compulsive and related disorders, PTSD and the psychological effects of discrimination and racism on Black Americans, the neurological underpinnings of these disorders, and the healing properties of psychedelic medicine. She also served as a study therapist of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Sciences (MAPS) phase 3 clinical drug trials examining the efficacy of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for treatment-resistant PTSD among people of color and was the main feature of a recent cover story on “Who Will Benefit From Psychedelic Medicine?” in The Washington Post. Jamilah is published in several academic journals and holds leadership positions in several professional organizations, including Chacruna’s Racial Equity and Access committee.
Emma Dilemma is the Co-Founder People of Technocolor. Her work nurturing communities as an educator, facilitator, event producer and chef in Psychedelic spaces has impacted countless organizations and people. The creative and spiritual exploration of self and the world is a privilege. When so many of our people are criminalized or excluded from these opportunities, and the ramification of colonization, led to the creation of People of Technocolor.
People of Technocolor is a community of color designed to be a space to uplift marginalized voices and allow for meaningful conversation, collaboration and connection among people of color with an emphasis on mentorship and justice. This work continues to be an experiment in social alchemy, spiritual practice and intersectional thinking. We are currently working on the legal structure of our organization and building BIPOC centered events and community support. Based in New Orleans, LA // Oakland, CA
Camille Barton is an artist and renegade researcher working on the intersections of embodiment and healing justice. Camille is the head of Ecologies of Transformation (2021 – 2023), a temporary masters programme at Sandberg Institute, exploring how art making and embodiment can facilitate social change.
Camille is an advisor for MAPS, ensuring that psychedelic assisted therapies will be accessible to communities of color, most harmed by the war on drugs. In 2021 they taught a course on Somatics and Psychedelics for the Embody Lab and also presented at the Psychedelic Coalition for Health Symposium. In 2019, Camille was the project manager of the Psychedelic Medicine and Cultural Trauma Workshop, hosted by MAPS as a precursor to the first MDMA Psychotherapy training for therapists of color. They have written for Vice, Talking Drugs, the MAPS Bulletin and Double Blind on drug policy & racial justice and have presented on these issues at conferences including Psychedelic Science (2017), The International Drug Policy Reform Conference (2017 & 2019) and Harm Reduction International (2019).
Monica Cadena is an Afro-Latinx California based artist, writer, movement worker, digital alchemist, brave space holder, plant ally, advocate, and the Creatrix of Black Healers Connect, a digital and in person community for healers of the diaspora. The former co-founder of Wear Your Voice Magazine, Monica’s passionate about highlighting stories from those at the intersections of healing and social justice activism and centering healing based initiatives. Monica works with many organizations within the psychedelic and entheogenic space as the current Co-Executive Director of SPORE, The Society for Psychedelic Outreach, Reform and Education, collaborator with Oakland Hyphae, and currently working with The Ancestor Project to create the first BIPOC psychedelic digital magazine.
Bio: The Psychedelic Sisterhood is a womxn-led, community-based organization dedicated to creating sacred spaces for womxn and gender non-conforming persons to rediscover their relationship to the cosmos and the divine feminine. We encourage examining alternative healing methods in melting away normative labels so that we can naturally traverse true femininity. Our goal for our community is to be a beacon, illuminating a path for psychedelic leaders, healers, practitioners, and cultural advocates.
Org Venmo: @psychedelicsisterhood
Sabrina Frometa, daughter of Calixto Frometa and Ana Rita Ventura, who both migrated from the Ayiti/Dominican Republic is the Founder of YAYA. YAYA is a creative studio that provides decolonized learning and creative development for makers, creators and organizations across Black and indigenous diasporas. Part cacao farmer, creative talent recruiter and latch-key kid, Sabrina is most known for being a connector of souls!
She/Ella is moved to action by the ancestral wisdoms of communities of color across the globe, and protecting plant medicines and their rightful stewards has become a critical part of her work in recent years having collaborated with the Detroit Psychedelic Conference, The National Entheogenic Council, The Psychedelic Justice Council and other emerging projects in the drug space.
Past work experiences includes DanceSafe,The Talent Business, United Masters +Translation, Univision, Dipont Education, Rooftop Film, and SPORE.
Buki Fadipe (@adventures.in.om) is a writer/content creator, educator, womanist, and healing catalyst, founded Adventures in OM an educational resource for those seeking expansion, healing and growth with sacred earth medicines. Buki was born in Nigeria where she lived until she moved to the UK when she was 11. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Promotion and Communication from the University of the Arts London, is completing a Psychedelic Practitioner training program with Synthesis Institute, and is a certified Hatha Yoga instructor. Her work is rooted in spirituality and reclaiming ancient earth/indigenous wisdom traditions to act as a basis for more natural and holistic ways of healing. Buki hopes to combine these elements into a potent mix in a therapeutic psychedelic medicine practice.
Victor Alfonso Cabral, LSW, CCTP-I
Psychotherapist, Consultant, Speaker, and Mentor/Coach
Victor Alfonso Cabral (he/him/his) is a Licensed Social Worker and Certified Clinical Trauma Professional in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He works full time for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In addition to his work in public policy, he works part-time as an outpatient psychotherapist in private practice, a diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant, and speaker. He is a graduate of the National Juvenile Justice Network’s Youth Justice Leadership Institute National Fellowship. Victor has also completed the MAPS’ MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy Program, PRATI’s Ketamine-Assisted Therapy Training, and serves as the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Co-Chair for the American Psychedelic Practitioners Association. He is a volunteer with The Soundmind Center for Psychedelic Healing in Philadelphia and was recently accepted into the Fall 2021 Level 1 Internal Family Systems Training through Black Therapists Rock.
I use psychology and computational neuroscience to characterize how altered states emerge from the body and how they can promote therapeutic change. My work has ranged from facilitating clinical trials for psychedelic-assisted psychotherapies at NYU Langone and Columbia University to engineering deep learning pipelines that analyze large-scale multimodal datasets. My technical areas of focus include the use of statistics, signal processing, graph theory, and artificial intelligence to answer questions with neuroimaging, psychometric, and physiological data. In addition, I co-founded Designated Helpers, a platform that teaches behavioral harm reduction tactics, and I co-organize a BIPOC Psychedelic virtual community space. Thank you for taking the time to learn about my work.
Founder of Oakland Hyphae, Reggie has an extensive background in political and social organizing. Reggie has consulted with some of the largest mushroom cultivators in the world. He has worked with the largest cultivators in The Netherlands and has advised in establishment of the one of largest commercial mushroom farms and state of the art testing lab in Jamaica. He also has over 10 years of domestic experience in the US cannabis industry. Reggie is a member of the Advisory Board for Decriminalize Nature and an avid supporter of The Movement for Black Lives.
Support by purchasing Oakland Hyphae gear here!
Gabe (he/him/his; BA) has been working with psychoactive compounds for half a decade. He has worked extensively with people experiencing non-ordinary states of consciousness, and is a student of experimental psychoanalysis. He is a passionate mycologist, chemist, and space-holder. He believes in the power of drugs to inform, transform, and heal those who use them with care and respect.
I currently reside on the stolen lands of the Duwamish in Seattle, WA. My childhood was split between my home state of NJ and NC where I resided from middle school through college. After college, I spent a year in my ancestral homeland of Puerto Rico and then I moved to New England where I pursued an education and work as an experiential educator and wilderness guide. I led 20 day backpacking, canoeing & rock climbing expeditions on the Appalachian Trail. Many of our students were in the foster care system, and I learned so much wisdom through working with them.
In 2018 I made my way to Seattle, where I switched careers into the tech sector. I joined Decrim Nature Seattle in July 2020, and I’ve been volunteering and helping to lead the organization ever since. I’m passionate not only about psychedelics, but also how plant medicine can help Black and Brown communities to address and heal generational, racial and relational trauma unique to our histories of oppression and marginalization. You can reach out to me at @tatihikes on IG and support our advocacy work by donating @Tatiana-FQ on Venmo or LinkInBio @decrimnaturesea.
Jasmine Virdi is a freelance writer in the psychedelic space. Since 2018, she has been working for the independent publishing company Synergetic Press, where her passions for ecology, ethnobotany, and psychoactive substances converge. Jasmine has written for Psychedelics Today, Chacruna Institute for Plant Medicines, Lucid News, and Cosmic Sister, to name but a few. She is currently pursuing an MSC in Spirituality, Consciousness, and Transpersonal Psychology at the Alef Trust with the future aim of working as a therapeutic practitioner within the psychedelic space. Additionally, she is a volunteer for Fireside Project’s psychedelic peer support line, aligned with their mission to provide compassionate, accessible, and culturally responsive support to all. Jasmine’s goal as an advocate for psychedelics and plant medicines is to raise awareness of the socio-historical contexts in which these substances emerged in order to help integrate them into our modern-day lives in an ethically integral, accessible, and meaningful way.
Shanaz Deen is a recent graduate of Princeton University, where she majored in Chemistry, minored in Global Health and Health Policy, and completed the pre-medicine track. There, she wrote her senior thesis, “Finding Sacred Reciprocity in Scientism: Meditations for the Psychedelic Renaissance,” hoping to understand the nature of psychedelic healing through chemical and sociological lenses. After conducting over forty semi-structured interviews with recreational users and key informants of the field, her thesis analyzes ways in which the psychedelic renaissance may radically transform conceptions of health and/or exacerbate structural harm. Her research supports broader epistemological frameworks that uplift indigenous ways of knowing and support community-based healing modalities. In addition to her strong interest in medicine and drug policy, Shanaz worked closely with Princeton’s Office of Religious Life on interfaith dialogue, gender justice, and refugee resettlement.
Currently, Shanaz is pursuing a Master of Divinity degree at Union Theological Seminary, where she studies Islam and Interreligious Engagement. Her academic interests include Islamic intellectual history, liberation theology, postcolonial thought, and abolition. Until then, she remains an active member of Columbia University’s Students for Sensible Drug Policy and researches how faith communities may serve vital roles in advocating for more just drug policy.
Donate to @shanazdeen where proceeds will directly go to mutual aid networks for families in Palestine
Danielle M. Herrera is a Bay Area Psychotherapist providing psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy (KAT) and psychedelic integration at Sage Integrative Health as well as harm reduction psychotherapy with Jennifer Fernandez & Associates. Danielle has worked within the community with The Harm Reduction Therapy Center as well. Danielle utilizes a warm and emotion-focused decolonized framework, with attunement to systemic oppressions and violences that impact the individual within a complicated ecosystem and has a special interest in working with folks in their process of healing internalized sexism, racism, and capitalism.
Donate to Sage Institute to support accessible/sliding scale Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy
Juliette is a graduating senior at the University of San Diego with concentrations in Ethnic Studies and Psychology. Juliette’s academic background informs her work, which focuses on the transformative potential of psychedelic medicines on the individual and collective level. Her current research applies a systems-based approach to contemporary cultural issues, exploring the intersections of the psychedelic renaissance, colonialism and empire, the environment, law, and market mechanisms. She has been a participant in the space for a few years, leading an SSDP chapter at her university and previously volunteering with the Intercollegiate Psychedelics Network (IPN), Fireside Project, and HowToUsePsychedelics.com. Currently, she is interning at MAPS PBC under the MDMA Training program. Her involvement is deeply guided by her advocacy for and commitment to harm reduction principles, trauma-informed care, building community resilience, and social accountability within the psychedelic space. In her personal life, she loves film photography, underground raves, cooking, and anything outdoors.
Ethos De Leon
Ethos de Leon has been embarking on a spiritual and healing journey since 2016. Since giving themselves permission to take the time to heal and develop self-love, the amount of infinite possibilities and opportunities opened for them. Ethos began as a social justice activist, co-creating and advocating for movements, such as Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ, immigration, and indigenous rights activism in Washington DC; has been elected to the Board of Directors for Catharsis on the Mall by the Catharsis community; served as the Event Operations Director for Catharsis on the Mall for the 2018 and 2019 events. Ethos also has worked for the psychedelic movement and federal cannabis legalization, centering the Global Majority and the reparations for Blakc and brown bodies unjustly targeted by the War on Drugs.
Oriana (she/her/ella) is a cis-femme first-generation Latina, anti-oppression organizer and harm reductionist from New York. She currently serves as a Board Director at Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), where she also co-chairs the Psychedelic Policy Reform Issue Group in addition to working as their Equity Strategist. Oriana is dedicated to dismantling structural oppression, promoting racial justice, ending violence against women of color and advancing harm reduction practices. She is a longtime advocate of ending the war on drugs and centering the needs of people of color in psychedelia. Currently, Oriana attends Union Theological Seminary at Columbia University where she is working to complete her Master’s in Divinity, her concentration is Social Ethics. When not on the dancefloor, you will likely find Oriana by the ocean. Donate to Political Healers
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Rebecca Martineis a queer Xicana writer, parent and community organizer born and raised Oregon. Before the formation of Edge Play: Tales From a Quarter Life Crisis, a memoir about psychedelic healing after religion and police violence. She serves on the Health Equity Subcommittee for Oregon’s Psilocybin Advisory Board as well as the Board of Advisors for the Plant Medicine Healing Alliance. Her focus is on creating coalition between organizations and leveraging the power of psychedelics toward social change., Rebecca served as the Event & Volunteer Coordinator for the successful Measure 109 campaign. She is also the author of