Needle Exchange

Below find the ACT UP at 30 Panel on Drug Users & Needle Exchange/Harm Reduction

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In June, Out-FM co-sponsored a conference with ACT UP/NY titled: 30 Years of ACT UP/NY: Hidden Histories and Voices, Lessons Learned. In our continuing excerpts from that remarkable event, we'll play the panel on campaigns by and for current and former drug users and harm reduction programs, from the 1980s to the current day. The two speakers are former ACT UP/NY members Tim Santamour, a longtime member of the harm reduction group Moving Equipment, and Annette Gaudino, Hepatitis C Project Co-Director for the Treatment Action Group. Panelists are introduced by former ACT UP/NY member & longtime Health GAP board member Amanda Lugg.

Timothy DuWhite and Ethelbert Miller

Timothy DuWhite (L) & Ethelbert Miller (R) at Pen Reading

Emma Missouri brings us sound from the PEN America's "The Reading for AIDS Remembrance" on June 22. It was the first Pride event in New York City with public space dedicated specifically to AIDS remembrance, including poets, storytellers, and performers. We'll hear from two poets, Timothy Du White, and Ethelbert Miller.

Controversial Flag at Chicago Dyke March

Controversial Flag at Chicago Dyke March

A furious controversy has unfolded since the Chicago Dyke March on June 24th over its organizers' decision to ask members of an LGBT organization that fiercely supports the Israeli government's policies, including its occupation of Palestinian lands, to leave after provocative actions against pro-Palestinian marchers. Critics claim the action was solely due to the group's carrying of a rainbow flag with a star of David, and was anti-semitic. Defenders say it was a reasonable response to a deliberate provocation at an event that the pro-Israeli-government marchers knew had a principle of opposition to all forms of oppression. Naomi Brussel explores the controversy with Stephanie, a member of Chicago's Jewish Voice and a Chicago queer organizer.

The Dyke March Statement on the matter follows:


More here

June 27, 2017

On June 24th, 2017, a small group of individuals were asked to leave Chicago Dyke March for expressing Zionist views that go directly against the march's anti-racist core values. In the days following, articles have appeared in a number of major news outlets that put forward false reports based on testimony that is purposefully misleading. We wish to clarify the circumstances under which organizers and community members alike asked the group to leave.

The group in question was heard disrupting chants, replacing the word "Palestine" with "everywhere," saying: "From everywhere to Mexico, border walls have got to go." One of the individuals, Laurel Grauer, is the Regional Director of A Wider Bridge, an organization with ties to the Israeli government that was protested for pinkwashing at the Creating Change Conference in Chicago in 2016. It was later revealed that Laurel was aware of Dyke March's anti-Zionist position from pro-Palestine memes and art that were posted on the Dyke March page, and was also aware of the fact that her flag could be interpreted as being at odds with that position. The night before, she contacted an organizer to ask if her flag would "be protested." The organizer told her the flag was welcome, but reminded her that the space is one that supports Palestinian rights.

Upon arrival at the rally location in Piotrowski Park, Palestinian marchers approached those carrying the flags to learn more about their intentions, due to its similarity to the Israeli flag and the flag's long history of use in Pinkwashing efforts. During the conversation, the individuals asserted their Zionist stance and support for Israel. At this point, Jewish allies and Dyke March organizers stepped in to help explain why Zionism was unacceptable at the march. There was an earnest attempt at engagement with these marchers, and the decision to ask them to leave was not made abruptly nor arbitrarily. Throughout a two-hour conversation, the individuals were told that the march was explicitly anti-Zionist, and that if they were not okay with that, they should leave.

Zionism is an inherently white-supremacist ideology. It is based on the premise that Jewish people have a God-given entitlement to the lands of historic Palestine and the surrounding areas. This ideology has been used to justify dozens of laws that discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel, segregated road systems in the West Bank, and forced removal of Palestinian families from their homes in order to make way for Jewish-only housing, among other violent and discriminatory practices. We recognize that Zionism is not synonymous with Judaism, but instead represents an ideology that uses legacies of Jewish struggle to justify violence.

Chicago Dyke March Collective is a grassroots mobilization and celebration of dyke, queer, bisexual, and transgender resilience. Our priority is to ensure a safer space for those who are most marginalized. We welcome and include people of all identities, but not all ideologies. We believe in creating a space free from oppression, and that involves rejecting racist ideologies that support state violence. We welcome the support we have received from Jewish allies and marchers who are as invested in liberation as we are.

The threats that have been made to Chicago Dyke March and its organizers by Zionists worldwide does not even compare to the violence that Palestinians endure on a daily basis while living under Israeli military rule in the name of Zionism. Palestine is being occupied by Israeli military forces, and at the time of writing, Gaza is currently being bombed. This is what we as a collective are most concerned with. Palestinians deserve to live free from violence, and Dyke March will continue to fight for Palestinians alongside all other oppressed communities around the world.