Greetings from your Inter-Chapter Collaboration Committee! We are excited to share our progress with the SSDP family. The minutes from the October ICC call can be found here. All SSDPers are invited to join the committee by joining our Slack.
SSDP Mission Statement Revision: Resolution at Conference
Earlier this year, board member James Gould ‘15 suggested revisions to SSDP’s mission statement. The board ultimately decided that this type of decision rests in the hands of our members. The staff and board’s commentary can be found in this document, and we invite members to share their thoughts as well. These considerations will culminate in a resolution brought before the entire organization at #Sensible2020: The Young People’s Drug Policy Conference and Lobby Day in Baltimore, MD, March 27-30.
People for Sensible Drug Culture (PSDC)
PSDC seeks to meet our non-student peers where they’re at by entering community cultural spaces to connect individuals interested in drug culture to policy reform, harm reduction, and the psychedelic renaissance to SSDP and allied organizations.
The PSDC x Be Interactive campaign officially launched on August 15, 2019, at Be Interactive’s benefit show in Nashville. Since then, PSDC promoted our Be Interactive campaign at Bass Center over Labor Day weekend. We gathered 80 PSDC sign-ups and were honored to be featured in Be Interactive’s Instagram story. The current campaign encourages people to vote for “addiction” as the next Be Interactive grant theme. Voting is continuous, and themes are selected at the beginning of each financial quarter, so we anticipate the next grant theme announcement in January. If “addiction” is identified as a grant theme, PSDC will apply for a grant of up to $10,000 to support our 2020 mission to center drug policy in the minds of candidates, politicians, and the electorate as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Controlled Substances Act.
Due to the overwhelming community response for Better Help, which partnered with Be Interactive and To Write Love On Her Arms to provide a month of free therapy to 2000 bassheads, January is the earliest the next grant theme will be selected. However, we are making the most of this time by preparing the narrative for our post-prohibition visioning video, “A Message From the Future with People for Sensible Drug Culture.” Content for this video will be derived from multiple panels and SSDP’s post-prohibition vision community session which took place at the International Drug Policy Reform Conference earlier this month.
This video was inspired by a post-Green New Deal visioning video titled, “A Message From the Future with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,” and our video will make a case not only for ending the War on Drugs, but aligning with Sunrise Movement, Extinction Rebellion, and other youth-led climate action organizations as we organize toward the 50th Anniversary Earth Day Climate Strike on April 22, 2020. The intersection of drug policy reform and climate action is introduced here, and the first wave of resources will be made available in the coming weeks. In the meantime, connect with your Sunrise hub and start the drug policy reform conversation in your local climate action network as organizing begins for December 6 #ClimateStrike.
US 2020 Elections
SSDP’s 2020 US Elections Working Group seeks to center drug policy and harm reduction in political conversations amongst presidential candidates, politicians, and the US electorate.
The 2020 US Elections Working Group sent an SSDP delegation to attend the Iowa Harm Reduction Summit, which included a Democratic presidential candidate forum titled “The Opioid Crisis in America.” Bernie Sanders was the only candidate scheduled to speak at the event, but he was unable to attend due to a health emergency just days before the event.
Recognizing the challenges of hosting presidential candidates at town halls or forums, the working group has pivoted toward developing resources to educate people about Democratic candidates’ criminal justice and drug policy reform platforms. This resource will be made available in the form of a zine by the end of December.
We are also in the process of adapting our On-the-Record toolkit to include digital bird-dogging. Once this resource is completed, we will create a decentralized social media campaign that gives members the tools they need to approach state and local level candidates and politicians and get them on the record about drug policy reform, harm reduction, and criminal justice reform. Members will be encouraged to log all digital interactions in the 2020 spreadsheet so that efforts are not duplicated and we can create state-level resources.
The third layer of our strategy is a voter registration campaign conducted in the style of the phonebanking contests SSDP hosted during the cannabis legalization efforts a few years ago. Prizes, including PSDC/Bassnectar volunteer passes, bragging rights, and other swag will be up for grabs for the members and chapters who shine the brightest during this contest. Voters ages 18-39 will make 37% of the electorate in 2020, meaning that one of our most critical roles will be turning out the vote. We can do this.
RAMCOT (Resource Assessment and Manual/Community Organizing Toolkit)
SSDP’s RAMCOT Working Group will collaborate on updating SSDP’s resources as well as create new ones to increase accessibility and support members in organizing and activism. The group also researches ways to appeal to as many learning styles as possible in the development of our resources. Full details about this working group can be found in DePaul President Evan Hazlett’s blog.
As for the Community Organizing Toolkit, Sunrise Movement has developed incredible skills- building trainings that fulfill the stated goals of ICC’s toolkit. We are in the process of getting permission to include variations of these resources in RAMCOT.