fresh voices from the front lines of change








Jerad Halcott

I’m Living Proof The CARE Act Will Save Lives

To save lives from our opioid epidemic, we have to meet drug users where they are. I know: I’m living proof. My name is Jerad Walcott, and I live on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. At ten, I was huffing prescription drugs, then I moved on to stronger stuff. By nineteen I had been homeless, a prostitute, and had ended up in jail. That saved my life: behind bars, I got into a thirteen-month treatment program that met we where I was, and changed my life. Counselors in that program saw me as a person, not just a drug user or a crime problem to be locked away. owadays, people tell me I’m great, because I put all this extra effort into making the world a better place. But back when I was just getting clean, when I was just another user, nobody would have given a shit about me. And these users, like the crummy person I used to be, nobody wants to help them – they just see them as a crime issue, not lives to save. Do we want to see more people die? How can we help? The answer is meet people where they are. See drug users as human beings, as my counselors did, and as I try to do with those I meet. That means harm reduction: offering clean needles and safe spaces for consumption, because people are going to use, no matter what. These measures are proven to save lives. Recognizing the scope of our opioid epidemic – which the CARE Act does – is the first step in the right direction. It gives people safer options. And safer options allow drug users to come out of the shadows and into contact with people like me who’ve been where they are, and made their way out. Safer options create a new sense of what’s possible. That’s what saves lives, and that’s what the CARE Act can do.

NY Passes New Rent Regulations

Landmark deal reached on rent protections for tenants in N.Y. NYT:
"Newly empowered Democratic leaders in Albany announced a landmark agreement on Tuesday to strengthen New York’s rent laws and tenant protections, seeking to address concern about housing costs that is helping drive the debate over inequality across the nation. The changes would abolish rules that let building owners deregulate apartments, close a series of loopholes that permit them to raise rents and allow some tenant protections to expand statewide. The deal was a significant blow to the real estate industry, which contended that the measures would lead to the deterioration of the condition of New York City’s housing. The industry had long been one of the most powerful lobbies in Albany, but it suffered a loss of influence after its Republican allies surrendered control of the State Senate in the November elections."

Trump Welcomes Foreign Interference In U.S. Elections

Trump says he would listen if foreigners offered dirt on opponents. ABC: "President Donald Trump may not alert the FBI if foreign governments offered damaging information against his 2020 rivals during the upcoming presidential race, he said, despite the deluge of investigations stemming from his campaign's interactions with Russians during the 2016 campaign. Asked by ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos in the Oval Office on Wednesday whether his campaign would accept such information from foreigners -- such as China or Russia -- or hand it over the FBI, Trump said, 'I think maybe you do both. I think you might want to listen, there isn't anything wrong with listening,' Trump continued. 'If somebody called from a country, Norway, [and said] 'we have information on your opponent' -- oh, I think I'd want to hear it.'"

Census Fight Escalates

Trump asserts executive privilege over 2020 census documents sought by House Democrats. Salon: "President Donald Trump asserted executive privilege over documents related to his administration's efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, the Justice Department announced Wednesday morning. The move came as the House Oversight and Reform Committee began proceedings Wednesday morning to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with the panel's subpoenas to turn over the materials. On Tuesday, the Justice Department warned it would request that Trump invoke executive privilege over the material unless Cummings held off on the contempt vote. Cummings, in response, said he would delay the proceedings only if the administration turns over certain documents subpoenaed by the House Oversight and Reform panel. The House Oversight and Reform Committee first issued the subpoenas in April as part of its investigation into the origins of the White House's decision to add a citizenship question to the next census. The Supreme Court is set to decide whether the question can stay on the census in the next few weeks."

Secret Service Blocks Protest At White House

Secret Service interferes with ‘Moral Witness Wednesday’ protest in front of White House. ThinkProgress: "More than 300 religious leaders and activists protested outside the White House on Wednesday to bring attention to administration policies they say are immoral. The U.S. Secret Service repeatedly interfered with the protest, first closing off Lafayette Square and then gating off access to the front of the White House an hour later. The protest, called 'Moral Witness Wednesday,' was led by Rev. Dr. William Barber II, a Protestant minister, social justice advocate, and president of Repairers of the Breach, a non-profit organization that “seeks to build a moral agenda… to redeem the heart and soul of our country.” Barber was joined by a 17 other religious leaders of different faiths, as well as activists of different religions. Activists were attempting to deliver a petition signed by more than 5,000 people calling on the White House to abide by the 14th Amendment, stop mandating a census question on immigration status, end its attack on the Affordable Care Act, focus on providing clean air and water, create a humane immigration policy, and end child detention."

NY Street Art Evokes Children In Cages

Art installations blast audio of sobbing, detained children across New York City.WaPo:
"It is a pop-up art installation of the most dystopian kind: Small kids curled up underneath foil survival blankets in chain-link cages, with audio of crying detained children wailing through speakers, dropped onto sidewalks throughout New York City. The guerrilla art installations, 24 in all, were plopped in front of the offices of news organizations, Google and highly trafficked areas of the city on Wednesday, depicting the most vivid sounds and migrant children detained by federal authorities at the U.S. southern border. 'Papa,' a detained child wept in one recording at an installation, a real moment captured inside a holding facility and published by ProPublica last year. Border Patrol agents joked with each other in that recording, as children cried out for their parents. The audio drew immense public outrage and demands that the Department of Homeland Security change its policies. The audio was so 'haunting' and 'disturbing,' a local TV station said, a camera crew kept its distance from one installation to prevent capturing the audio on their broadcast."

Pin It on Pinterest

Spread The Word!

Share this post with your networks.