Stonetree nominated for WEGO Health Activism Award
I recently received an unexpected surprise via an email notifiying me that the Stonetree Harm Reduction Facebook page had been nominated for a WEGO Health Activism award. My surprise was centred in the fact that in the last three years I have been excited to witness a great many people utilise social media to advance the rights and health of people who use drugs. Some activists centre their efforts primarily on the use of social media to conduct advocacy and awareness raising, others are utilising social media to document the work they do within their communities. Social media provides pretty much anyone with the power to be a media producer and broadcaster. When we place this in the context of developing and delivering messages regarding groups of people within our communities that are all too often marginalised from the mainstream in traditional media reporting, this new found power becomes a powerful tool.
I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about some of the people whose use of social media inspires me.
I’ve never made it any secret that I admire the work of Nigel Brunsdon and the Injecting Advice website. Nigel has always demonstrated great generosity and insight in his use of social media and is constantly thinking of new ways that he can engage people with harm reduction, whether it be workers or people who use drugs.
While I’m on the subject of the great work that Nigel does, HIT, the Liverpool based harm reduction organisation have recognised the great work that he does and engaged him a couple of years ago as a Community Manager. The combination of Nigel and the HIT team has been a sure-fire winner, with HIT supporting a number of great initiatives including the Harm Reduction Café concept. One of the strengths of social media and social networks is the capacity to bring people together. Online social networks are strengthened by our offline social networks. The Harm Reduction Café concept which has been freely shared by HIT combines elements of both online and offline social networking to enhance knowledge sharing and networking. It is these simple and creative initiatives that inspire me to keep thinking about ways we can more effectively engage with each other.
The ethnographic video work conducted by Greg Scott and the team at Sawbuck is… well I kind of run out of words. Video is a powerful medium and Greg uses it in a powerful and honest way. If Greg and Sawbuck productions was a bumper sticker it would read: ‘Say no to corporate media sensationalism, say yes to the rights of people who use drugs.’ You can check out their YouTube channel at: http://www.youtube.com/user/sawbuckfilms/videos
Sanguen Health Centre
Estera Brudek and the Sanguen Health Centre team do an amazing job of documenting their work in Canada. The passion they have for their community shines through as well as their close connection with the people that they assist, who are always presented as human beings rather than a stereotype. I love their work! I highly recommend their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sanguen-Health-Centre
A big thank you to the people who have nominated/endorsed the Stonetree Facebook page for the WEGO Health Activism Award. I would love to hear which social media champions of harm reduction inspire you.