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Nice People Take Drugs

August 14 da Union held our first “Nice People Take thj-018 Drugs” rally at Dolores Park. Several of our members attended this. We handed out stickers, t-shirts and wrist-bands that said “Nice People Take Drugs,” as well as Drug Users’ Union flyers, and the gang ate great quantities of cookies—no, not that kind! We made a good impression on the public and added new members to our roster. Even a representative of the Park Rangers arrived to check us out. Fortunately, we managed to keep Alexandra sufficiently restrained from challenging the poor guy to a fight to the death and thereby sending us all to jail. She definitely made us proud! U go GIRL!!!

Now, August 19th was the “Publication Writing Party” for Da Union’s ’zine called “Drug Resistance.” This project is being put together by Isaac, the peer organizer for da Union. Discussions centered around the type of publication we want and the format to be used. Tentatively, it was decided to publish four times a year, the first to be in December of this year. We are looking for people who have experience in publishing, lay-out, photography, art graphics, writing, even cartoonists! So, step up and be heard! 

Now, for some not so good news… at the ‘zine party on the 23rd, a member of the group walked off with a tape recorder that was purchased by da Union to record some of our meetings. This event has caused great distress among the honest members of da Union. Any suggestions on what should be done for such transgressions? Da Union turned down my suggestion of human sacrifice, but I am sure someone else has a good suggestion. No more pizza for this person!!!

On August 23 we had a “Community Organizing Training” given by James Tracy, it was part one of a series. The purpose of these trainings is to give da Union and its members the tools to create change in their communities and to be more active members of da Union. James talked with us about the differences between organizing and providing services. Thanks James!

On September 8, we had another General Meeting, where we continued to discuss community organizing, and also filled some of the new members in on the other Drug Users’ Unions around the world (VANDU in Vancouver, VOCAL in New York City, Junkiebonden in the Neatherlands etc).

At our Planning Committee Meetings in September, we reported back from some of the Focus Groups and research we have been doing on our campaign, and we heard a lot of interesting stories on how drug users are treated at the SFGH Emergency Room. Stay tuned to hear more!

Ok… well that’s the best information I got for you right now! So I guess the time has come for the special Union salute of the month… Now let us raise our bongs in special recognition of organizer Alexandra, whose leadership and fighting skills have brought pride and fear to the Drug Users’ Union! This hit is Mjust in her memory! Salute!

– Written by Gary West, September 2010 (with some editorial Help by Alexandra Goldman)

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San Francisco Drug Users’ Union

Greetings, Salutations, and Toke!

Congratulations, you have just received the first news letter of the Drug Users’ Union of San Francisco! Welcome one and all… this letter is to help you, da union member, keep updated on our progress and our events that have taken place, or will be taking place, in the upcoming year. It is also to give you, da member, an outlet to express your ideas, concerns, and stories so that the rest of us may benefit from your experiences and knowledge! We want to hear from you! There is a place in the choir for everyone! If you’d like to be part of future newsletters please contact Alexandra.

Well, with that said, let’s get down to biz. So far this summer da Union has met several times and the minutes of the meeting are included to keep everyone up-to-date.

For the meeting on July 14 we give special thanks to Melissa Struzzo, who took the time to be our special guest speaker. Melissa was working for the San Francisco Department of Public Health to assess their Harm Reduction Policy, and was collecting stories from people who use the health services in SF. At this meeting we also chose a general theme for our first campaign: to decrease the stigma drug users face using services funded by the city.

Our July 20 meeting was spent organizing the campaign in better detail. We decided to focus on decreasing the stigma that drug users face at the San Francisco General Emergency Room.

The July 25 meeting had 14 members there. And our special thanks go to Caycee who was the guest speaker from the UFO study. We also discussed the research we need to do before beginning our campaign.

August started with a Planning committee meeting on the 3rd. We wrote a questionnaire for the District 6 Supervisor candidates on issues surrounding drug use in the Tenderloin and SOMA. We will compile their answers into a Drug User Voter’s Guide for District 6. Look out for it in late October!

On August 10, we had a screening of the movie, “Fix,” the story of VANDU, the drug users’ union in Vancouver, Canada, how it got started and why. More than 40 people showed up for the viewing, or at least for the pizza, and many showed great interest in the topics discussed! Thanks to all who attended and made this event a success!

August 11 we met for a General Meeting, which is now being held at the Drug Police Alliance Office at 131 10th st. Seems only appropriate, don’t you think? Again, the time was spent organizing the campaign goals and assigning tasks to the members.

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October General Meeting set for October

Please join us for pizza and community organizing on drug policy issues with a  San Francisco focus.  The SF Drug Users Union is a membership organization giving a voice to drug users and their allies.    Sf Drug Users’ Union members are working locally within the context of a growing political consensus that the war on drugs has been a huge failure that in fact causes more harm than good.   Our General Meetings is a friendly and democratic environment where we figure out together the best way forward based on what we’ve already accomplished as a community of users and allies.

Don’t get hung up on whether or not you’ve ever been to one of our events before because if  you’ve survived another drug war day; another day of stigmatization from neighbors who know everything except who you are – then you already have the knowledge to get active. .  And yeah, wouldn’t it be wonderful if those “drug user experts in the community” could also stop reading the crime blotter and start reading the US Constitution, but as we all know,  its not about them. Earth to California, this issue is about us drug users.  Continue to ignore them, but never take your personal  power, and our collective potential, for granted. Unless, of course, you are happy with the world as it is.  Then link here.  Everyone else, read on:

Nothing about us, without us!   So come on down to our office at 149 Turk and let’s get it done right.. Maybe we didn’t start this war on drugs, but we sure as hell can stop it.

Our General Meetings start at 5:00pm as an informal gathering (with a light dinner) then at 5:30pm,, the business meeting begins and usually last an hour.  We have many more events through out each month, so be sure to pick up a monthly schedule and get on our email list serv for events that  just can’t wait a whole month for your interest and involvement (see sidebar).