April News 2022
HIPS is deeply concerned by the recent spikes in overdoses and fatal overdoses in the District.
Whether it’s from an overdose or through drug related incarceration, losing folks we care about is hard, like really hard. Showing your love and support by using nonjudgmental harm reduction principles is a way that you can look out for yourself and others.
Stand with HIPS and together we can destigmatize, decriminalize and work towards a safe supply.
Remember to look out for each other and practice these harm reduction basics:
Love, Naloxone & lube,
PS: Help us increase the amount of peer based education, safer using materials like test strips and naloxone, safer smoking kits, and continued advocacy for overdose prevention and drug users health, led by those with lived experience. Please donate what you can
We Knew Housing in DC Was Rough But...
More Amazing Community Support
Meet Our New Board Member
HIPStar Chibundo Egwuatu
I was an intern here at HIPS during the summer of 2019 and am glad to see some familiar names in this listserv! I have a BA in Anthropology from the University of Central Florida (UCF) and an MA in Anthropology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). I was born in Cobb County in Georgia but have spent most of my life in central and south Florida! Before HIPS, I taught at UIUC, was a union organizer, and did anti-jail building and bail abolition work in Illinois (we got cash bail abolished earlier this year!). Before that, I did direct action food justice work. I currently organize with a group called Decoding Stigma that looks at sex work and tech. I enjoy going out dancing, fashion, music, and unsettling movies; I love okra, boiled peanuts, and strawberry Nutrament."
We asked Chibundo a few questions...
When and where were you the happiest?
This may be my oldest proper memory. I must have been about 2. We were in Atlanta, and I loved going to Atlanta because we had moved from there and I recall not wanting to do that (excuse the brusque language here, I am trying to stay as true to my thoughts as I remember them in my current expression). I was wearing a velvet and taffeta dress with a big red hand outline in sequins. I did not like sequins because they scratched me and it made people (adults) think they could touch me (as in, take off my hat, pinch my face, pick me up - I did not really talk at this time but I had a lot of feelings lol). It was cold. I hated the cold and still do to this day - my nose was dripping, my feet hurt from hard shiny shoes and I Did Not Want To Be In This Car nor At This Party. In the midst of all this particularity (mine) and situational change (up to my parents), I was to be at an Igbo party in a big hotel (I am first gen, my parents are Igbo migrants). I remember it because I had never seen an inside so big - the outside was big in a way that made sense, and this inside, the gilded, honey-lit hotel, had an inside that rivaled that understanding. The contrast of this inside of pure warmth, honed into shapes I had never seen, and the cold outside, my dripping nose was the only evidence of this before - I imagine it was the forbidden fantasy of reentering the womb realized. This is all background for the actual memory - a revolving door. I was in awe. I came in through it and had no idea what I was looking at - a gold revolving door with glass smudged by fingers at heights I could barely reach, smeared by fingers I could. I spent the early part of the night wanting to go back through it, but not as I did not want to get in trouble. At some point later in the night, I had fallen in with a small roving gang of children, excited to touch, push, pull, and feel whatever we could while our parents danced and drank. I had no doubt had my fill of party food -jollof rice, moin moin, chin chin, puff puff, roasted meat, juices and
sodas I was not able to drink at home. I remember I had a fur jacket that made it hard for me to move my arms. I ran around with other children from the party in this revolving door several times and I do not think I have felt such pure ecstasy since. I remember seeing the red sequins from the front of my dress reflecting off the glass, I felt closer to the light of the gold-piped door, a part of the feeling this place evoked, more integral to the joy as I moved from witness to a part of the scene.
Which talent would you most like to have?
I would like to try to learn the harp, again. Like with dance, I appreciate opportunities to express/feel without using words. I started learning to play after my union won our strike (12 days! the longest in Illinois academic history) and got a new contract; I was a building captain and one of the folks on my picket line was a composer in the music department. When we won, we all went to a bar in downtown Champaign as rowdy union people are wont to do - I made a joke about Joanna Newsom, to which the composer asked if I wanted to play the harp. I said yes, not expecting anything to come of it, but next thing I know I had an audition in the harp department with Dr. Ann Yeung, a living harp legend! I admitted during the interview that I had no skills lol but she took me on anyway. For the last two years of grad school, being able to go to the harp room and fumble (even fumbling sounds nice on a pedal harp) was a great reprieve from writing, reading, teaching, etc. My loss of what little skill I gained is a blow I intend to repair.
Thank you for sharing Chibundo.