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Reframe the Blame 2

Prison Abolition

#Reframetheblame: A campaign designed by womxn who believe in the power of community. Reframe the Blame : Sign a do not prosecute order. Support safe consumption spaces Demand safe supply Provide community education and supplies to reduce harm

This project is a living project that NCSU women have been conceptualizing for the last 3 years as we work toward developing strategies for disrupting destructive narratives. We are only now able to put on paper some of the ideas we believe could make a true difference for women and for people living in underground economies. One of the most difficult subjects we have uncovered is directly related to the level of abuse and violence each one of us has endured in our lifetimes. What is safety? How do people create safe environments for themselves and their families? How do you protect your loved ones when you can’t protect yourself?

As we continue to explore crime, punishment, prison, and police to determine how they impact our lives and shape our we are beginning to realize that our realities are based within a context which tells us the only way to stay safe is to jail and imprison people who are unsafe (unsafe being defined as a person who creates, brings about, or inflicts harm on themselves or others). Many of us have never even considered a world without police or prison, for most of us it feels unfathomable. Would this not create total chaos and has human history not shown us clearly what man is capable of. As women could we ever be safe in a world without police? We are conditioned to believe we need the police and we could never be safe not for a minute without the police.

This idea begins to fade after years of enduring abuse at the hands of the people who are tasked with protecting us. For most of us, the police are more terrifying than any angry spouse, late night robber, or irate friend. Most of us gave up the idea of safety long ago. We understand the world to be quite unsafe because violence and abuse are realities of our existence. Women who use drugs are alienated from other groups. We stand alone and are viewed by most of the world as deserving, needing, and often thought to be choosing a life of violence and abuse. Our lifestyles often put in situations where we have little power. We find ourselves trying to protect others, asking others to use differently, begging sex partners, or paying clients to use with care only to be left in a situation where we could be blamed for his careless overdose or drug poisoning and no matter our behavior, without question each and every time, we will be viewed and held responsible.

Harm Reduction and a community of love education and support have brought our group of women all of whom use drugs to a place where we no longer will accept this narrative. We have a right to safety and security. We refuse to believe that our choice to use substances negates our human right to live free from rape, molestation, abuse and fear. This is simply the lie we have been fed but certainly not the reality we must continue to live in.

The White Cross Crew was conceptualized as a citizen’s response team for women who use drugs. It began as an idea and has grown and shaped itself over the years. We see opportunities for this crew to respond to the needs of our broken society. More people feel more unsafe than ever before. The police wield more power, react more aggressively than most of us have ever seen. There are still many that believe the crimes of police are isolated incidents of but a few, but those of us who know, are clear that it has become standard operating procedure. When the police can gun down black men on tv who are running the other direction and be back in the office with a gun on their side the next week– we must know that no one is safe. When we have learned our rights, stated them, demanded them only to be mocked, and humiliated we must act as a community. The White cross crew is about resistance and power. It is about fighting for human rights. We have been duped. We confused folks. We made people think it was about drugs. People on drugs are bad and deserve no rights…that is the lie they told. That is the lie that is pervasive. The White cross crew confronts the lie we tell the world about people who use drugs. It is drug users fighting to bring safety and healing to their community. It is us, yes, the lazy, the uncaring and ungodly that respond to the crisis of our neighbor. We bring the naloxone at 2am it is us who donates food and shelter to community members in need, and one call at a time we build community, rebuild trust, and reimagine a different kind of world. A world we believe we are worth safety and security. A world where we have value.

The Goal of the White Cross Crew to date is simple. We operated informally while syringe exchange was illegal, and naloxone was scare and illegal as well. We would respond to late night calls and show up for a variety of community crisis. Over time we were called for other community conflicts and situations. The Good Samaritan Law truly made a difference in our city. We were able to call 911 in most situations without complete and total fear however this has all ended. Come December 1, 2019 we face murder charges with no need to prove intent. This draconian legislation demands our attention and calls for an immediate reconvening of the WCC. We are seeking to operate through a more formal structure and respond to more concerns than originally. The crisis we see among the police and their behavior is unignorable. We know we must do more than prevent death. We must protect and refocus our efforts on preserving life. Stay tuned for more. NCSU

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