Please let me be clear, I know its hard to hear each other in here sometimes. I am unfortunately not a pious creature. I am sometimes hot with anger and even fury. I struggle to remain peaceful amidst such injustice. There is a voice inside me that reminds me every day that the opioid crisis took down a large part of my family. And I do want to make one thing clear: I am not here to talk about compassion for white working class addicts. I'm here with a vengeance against the people, corporations and politicians, who profited from killing my family. I am here with the hard reminder that addiction is, in fact, also impacting the Black, Latinx, and Native American communities, and has for decades through harsher sentences in the system of mass incarceration. I am here to remember the 130 people who will die today from overdose or narcotics-related illnesses out loud.
I'm here to make the connection between the opioid crisis, mass incarceration, the promotion of violence in society, the availability of deadly weapons, racism, the oppression of women, the separation of humanity from the Earth, and oppression of the working class.
I wake up with a lot on my mind, but I thank God for giving me this voice. One thing is for sure. I'm going to use it.
Susan Anglada Bartley is an author, educator, and activist living in the United States.