The SSDP Outreach, Recruitment and Diversity committee, in cooperation with dozens of chapter leaders and members, has begun an initiative that is going to transform the drug policy movement into a force that cannot be ignored. For too long, voices from demographics directly impacted by the war on drugs have gone unheard. In order to thrive, our efforts must be informed by a diversity of perspectives and stories. We must incorporate strategies, concerns and best practices from other movements, expand how we define our base, and demonstrate sensitivity to the needs of all those with a stake in reform.
To kick-start our efforts, we are creating a Diversity and Outreach Manual to serve as the go-to resource for chapter outreach efforts. We need your help to make it a success!
How will the manual accomplish its mission?
Each section of this manual will focus on a particular demographic. We understand that no group can bereduced to a chapter in a manual and are making no attempt to do so here. The manual will attempt to prepare chapters by providing a starting point, and we hope that other leaders and activists will pick up where we left off to provide insight and information for the outreach process. They will be split up into the following sections:
- Background information
- Relevant vocabulary
- History of how the war on drugs affects the demographic
- Ways the demographic’s current struggles intersect with drug policy
- Tips on how to address these issues
- How to make your chapter a safe space for this demographic
- Examples of events to co-sponsor
- Some positive examples of successful outreach efforts
Who is working on this project?
Our group is made up of SSDP chapter leaders from across the country and several of SSDP’s national board of directors members. We need as many voices as possible and we can always use more help. We need folks who are willing to do research, write, edit, and design layout, interview activists from other movements, and provide innovative ideas on how to help our cause. If you are wondering if you would have something to contribute, the answer is YES!
When will it be released?
We are striving to have this manual printed and ready to critique during the DPA conference in November, which means we need to have it finished by mid-October. As with any large document, many revisions will be necessary, so we are looking to have rough drafts of all chapters done by the end of September. This of course means we need to get working, and that’s why we need your help!
How can I get involved?
1) Join our SSDP Diversity forum: https://www.facebook.com/groups/198658483498623/?ap=1
2) Please send me a personal email (firstname.lastname@example.org) letting me know you would like to get involved and if there are any particular efforts you would like to join or initiate.
Currently there are three groups already in motion, and four more looking to get started ASAP.
Currently in motion: Latinos, Women, and the Recovery Community
Outreach groups looking to form: African Americans, LGBTQ, Asian Americans and Native Americans
We also need folks willing to work on graphic design, editing, outreach to non drug policy activists, and so much more. If you believe diversity is important in any movement and would like to help SSDP lead the charge to growing our movement, please contact me at your earliest convenience.
Thank you all for all that you do to further the cause of drug policy reform, and I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible this November 2nd at the DPA conference in LA!