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State of Michigan Holds ‘Harm Reduction’ Conference Denouncing ‘Whiteness’.

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State of Michigan Holds ‘Harm Reduction’ Conference Denouncing ‘Whiteness’.

By ALANA MASTRANGELO

Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) held a conference in May regarding “harm reduction” that featured a panel on denouncing “whiteness.”

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ Viral Hepatitis unit, which holds an annual “harm reduction” conference, featured a workshop at this year’s event in May, titled, “Decentering Whiteness: An Equity-Based Approach.”

A description of the workshop said it explores “biases that black and non-black people of color participants encounter while accessing medical and social services,” as well as “how these biases enter the employment space and create barriers for black, brown, indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) individuals to achieve their highest potentials.”

“The workshop will also explore bias, medical mistrust, generational trauma, white colonialist systems, and radical inclusion,” the description added.

A slide at the beginning of the presentation for the workshop warned audience members to “Be responsible for the energy YOU bring to this SPACE,” adding, “Hard truths will be discussed.”

The presentation went on to claim it is a “myth” that the “birth of a nation” began with Christopher Columbus discovering America, pilgrims setting, and then winning independence from England through the revolution.

 

 

Instead, the presentation, which referred to North America as “Turtle Island,” claimed the nation was born from “violent land seizure, genocide of the indigenous populations,” and “economic development through forced labor of kidnapped and enslaved Africans.”

The presentation also called on people to “decolonize harm reduction,” and urged organizations to fire any “overt racist / transphobic / homophobic staff,” and “hold dissenters accountable.”

The conference also had a panel on “sex workers” that featured porn star Lotus Lain, and emphasized “the need for sex workers on the front lines of harm reduction and social justice.”

 

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