The Crack Cocaine Center Of Excellence

2 Feb

Crack Vials Candy Jernigan

From the art piece, Found Dope II, by Candy Jernigan, 308 crack vials and caps she found over a period of 16 days during her walks in mid-eighties East Village, NYC. Photo Credit: Susannah Breslin

The Crack Cocaine Center Of Excellence. You can picture it right? Oh, wait, you’re saying you can’t? But, here in Rhode Island, established in 2016, are our first, Opioid Centers of Excellence, or certified treatment facilities that “meet or exceed established requirement for providing medication-assisted treatment for addiction to prescription painkillers, heroin and other opioids. Certified facilities are authorized to provide the treatment to residents with opioid use disorders, including those enrolled in Medicaid.”

Our governor, Gina Raimondo, who has been working with health officials on a plan to combat what is being called “the opioid crisis” said this at the time of the opening of the first center: “Rhode Island’s first Center of Excellence will make it easier for patients struggling with opioid use disorders to get treatment, and will help healthcare providers on the front lines to best support their patients on the path to recovery.”

This makes me mad. Why would I, or anyone, be mad about this effort to help those addicted to heroin and other opioids?  I am not mad at these current efforts. I am mad about the following.

Through my past work in homeless services in New York City, and in mental health in Rhode Island, I have also worked for over twenty years with people struggling with addiction. I lived in New York from 1986 until 2003. I was way too close to what was called “the crack epidemic.” “Opioid crisis.”  “Crack epidemic.” See what I did there?

Anyway, I have vivid memories of the days when crack overtook New York City. I couldn’t sidestep if I tried, the litter of glass crack vials and their candy-colored tops on East 3rd Street, between the Bowery and 2nd Avenue, the block taken up by Project Renewal’s Men’s Shelter. Too familiar were the pained faces of gaunt men mumbling to themselves while grabbing at imaginary crystals on the ground. I remember how a pit of loneliness welled up in my stomach when I peered down from an office window on West 41st Street, around the corner from Bryant Park. There, a tall, thin, balding man, who was black, crouched over in a grated door-front, crack pipe in hand, lighter in other, and took a deep pull. I had a boyfriend at the time, a charismatic white boy from Southern California, who went from snorting coke to a stint smoking crack. I, in true codependent fashion, tried to save him through pleading phone calls and an anonymous mailing of a brochure to a drug treatment program.

Richard Nixon first coined the term, “War on Drugs” in 1971, when he put anti-drug laws and enforcement of anti-drug policies in place to deal with the “left, marijuana smoking hippies,” and the increase of heroin addiction among returning Vietnam veterans. In the 1980’s, Ronald Reagan stepped up the game while at the same time, private, for-profit prisons were being built. Nancy Reagan told us to Just Say No, while Reagan passed federal law that would put a person arrested with five grams of crack cocaine in prison for five years minimum, while someone arrested with 500 grams of powder cocaine would receive the same sentence for possessing 100 times more. In California, the Three Strikes law, and in New York, The Rockefeller Drug laws, were putting small-time dealers and users in jail for life. People living in Black communities tried to tell us the government brought these drugs into their communities to destroy the people and their neighborhoods. We didn’t believe them. We didn’t do anything about it. Crack was not considered a public health crisis. People were not looked at as having the disease of addiction. They were not offered Medicaid funded Crack Cocaine Centers of Excellence. It was chilling for me to finally see in print these words which were reprinted in an on-line article recently, after all these years of suffering in Black communities:

The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or blacks, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

– John Ehrlichman, to Dan Baum[41][42][43] for Harper’s Magazine[44] in 1994, about President Richard Nixon’s war on drugs, declared in 1971.[45][46]


Like heroin in the black community in the 70’s, crack was criminalized a decade later. Opioids now though, are a public health matter.

Why is that, you ask? I think we know the answer. It’s been written about. I’ve heard it in conversation with some people of color, as well as some white people. But if I must share, what’s being said, and the way I see it, is because the opioid “crisis” is now also heavily impacting the white, suburban, middle-class community. All of a sudden, it matters.  Mr. So-and-So who is the CEO of the town bank, whose son is battling an addiction to heroin and oxycontin, and who almost overdosed several times, wants help, not prison, for his son.

It makes me angry that this is the case. I care deeply for people who are struggling with addiction to heroin and other opiods. I am not of the mind-set which I heard stated in a local coffee shop the other day, “well, if they want to kill themselves with drugs, go ahead. Why should we spend money on NARCAN, when these people have no self-control…” I do believe addiction is a disease, and should be treated as such. I am a strong supporter of people getting help for their struggle with whatever they are addicted to.

But this is unfair. Why was this not the perspective when Black and Brown people were falling prey to the powerful drugs, of heroin and, especially, crack cocaine? Why was it okay to sniff cocaine from glass mirrors at Studio 54, and on top of Wall Street desks, but not smoked out of glass pipes on East 3rd Street? Why were crack addicts portrayed as desperate, crazed, violent criminals, while people addicted to opioids are allowed to be seen as human beings who deserve our sympathy and help?

We destroyed people’s lives, tore apart families, and destroyed the economic health, and familial ties of entire neighborhoods belonging to people of color. The harsh and racially-charged drug law enforcement which began with Nixon, and continued through subsequent presidencies, and measures like the “stop and frisk policy” added to the inequities in arrests and sentencing for people of color versus those from white communities, and filled up our prisons with young Black and Latino men.

This month I came across a poster for a local therapeutic art theater piece centering on personal stories of opioid addiction and how it impacts the addicts, and their families. The poster featured three white actors. I assumed the young man in the photo was the addict, the woman, his mom, and the man with the stethoscope, obviously, the doctor. They all were allowed to look like human beings, like photos you’d see in a magazine, not a police mug shot. They were portrayed as being worthy of our empathy.  I don’t recall this being done for the Black community—the artful showing of people of color struggling with addiction to crack cocaine as human, lovable people.

As someone who uses the arts in her work with individuals struggling with mental health issues, homelessness, and addiction, I believe in the power of the arts to reflect our experiences, and to provide opportunities for healing and growth. From the reviews of this theater piece, it seems it did allow for that to happen, and that is a very good thing, which I support and admire. Again, I am deeply saddened by anyone who loses their life to an overdose on drugs of any kind. I will not dismiss the high number of deaths and near-deaths related to opioid use in this state, and in this country, as not deserving of our attention and care. Yet, one of the actors in the play, who is white, and whose son, in real life, is in recovery from addiction to heroin,  said this to a news interviewer who asked if he felt attitudes about addiction were changing:

“…attitudes are changing…slowly stigma is dropping away, but still there’s shame..I’ve said this before, but..when inner city people were dying, kids were dying, no one paid attention, but now that well-to-do towns are being impacted—white, middle-class kids are dying, now all of a sudden we have a problem..Well, no the problem’s been there for a long time… whatever it took to get the attention, as tragic as it is, okay now we have some attention on it, let’s do something about it..and now healthcare is trying to figure out how to help…”

We can’t go back and change perception, and the harsh, cruel punishment bestowed upon those who fell prey to their addiction to, or to the selling of, crack cocaine. But I want reparations of some sort. For all the Black people who suffered during the “crack epidemic.” I want them to be seen as human. Human beings that suffered from the same illness as today’s opioid addicts. Too late you say? Well then, while there have been some changes made in the drug laws in the last two decades, which have allowed some people in prison for non-violent drug offenses to apply for resentencing and release, how about we simply release these folks? They’ve served more than their time.

Then how about before we make a new generation of white, millionaire, medical marijuana entrepreneurs, how about we release all the Black and Brown men and women in prison for dealing weed, and give them business loans? Find them angel investors. Give them a chance to pitch their plan on Shark Tank. I think this would be a good place to start.

When it comes to addiction, let us look inside ourselves, and see the truth of our own biases, and the destruction they have caused, and continue to cause. Let’s look at all people who suffer from drug addiction, and who turn to dealing drugs due to a lack of economic opportunities for people that look like them, and come from the neighborhoods they live in, and give them the hand up that they need to recover, and live a valued life free from addiction, and the temptation of a lifestyle made to look like it is the only option to survive one’s circumstances. Can we continue to break down the systems of racial and criminal injustices and systems of white supremacy so that the playing field is finally leveled for Black and Brown people in this country? Finally, can we all agree to see Black and Brown sons and daughters, aunts and uncles, as human beings, who suffer just like your white sons, daughters, aunts and uncles who look like you do, and who deserve to be cared for and saved just the same?


Just as I was about to post this essay, I came upon an article on Huffington Post that shared my strategies for reconciliation of past offenses toward people of color and the harsh drug laws enforced against them. Here are a few snippets from the article:

…Prosecutors in San Francisco are reducing and dismissing thousands of past marijuana convictions, an extraordinary move that will retroactively apply California’s recreational marijuana legalization policy for cases stretching back decades.

“While drug policy on the federal level is going backwards, San Francisco is once again taking the lead to undo the damage that this country’s disastrous, failed drug war has had on our nation and on communities of color in particular,” San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón said in a Wednesday statement about the effort.

Gascón announced that his office will be applying the law to all misdemeanor and felony cases in San Francisco dating back to 1975. In total, his office will be reviewing, recalling and resentencing up to 4,940 felony marijuana convictions, as well as dismissing and sealing 3,038 misdemeanor cases that were sentenced prior to the ballot measure’s passage…

“This example, one of many across our state, underscores the true promise of Proposition 64 ― providing new hope and opportunities to Californians, primarily people of color, whose lives were long ago derailed by a costly, broken and racially discriminatory system of marijuana criminalization,” Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement. “This isn’t just an urgent issue of social justice here in California – it’s a model for the rest of the nation.” 



Providence Journal, CODAC Behavioral Healthcare certified as R.I.‘s first ‘center of excellence’ in opioid treatment, September 22, 2016, Lyn Arditi – War On Drugs

Connecting Point WGBY talk show Interview, June 1, 2016 with Paul Kanzarian and Ana Bess Moyer Bell, Black Voices, San Francisco To Dismiss Or Reduce Thousands of Past Marijuana Convictions,  by Matt Ferner, January 31, 2018

Photo Credit: Susannah Breslin

13 Responses to “The Crack Cocaine Center Of Excellence”

  1. Julie Weinstein February 2, 2018 at 10:54 am #

    Excellent, Wendy. As usual, your thoughtfulness comes through in your words and actions. I admire you and your commitment to these issues, and I agree.

    • Wendy Jane February 2, 2018 at 10:58 am #


      Thank you so much for reading, and for your kind feedback, and for sharing that you see, too, how race is a factor in how drug addiction, treatment, and the criminalization of drug use in communities of color differs from that in white communities.

      Thank you!


  2. Jess February 2, 2018 at 4:58 pm #

    Bravo! You and Jay-Z are on the same page. Great little video says much the same:

    • Wendy Jane February 2, 2018 at 5:19 pm #

      Hi Jess,

      Thanks so much for reading, and for your support. Glad to see I’m on the same page as Jay-Z…hope Blue Ivy feels the same way, too:) look forward to checking out the video.

      Thanks again,

      • Miriam Diaz-Gilbert February 2, 2018 at 6:35 pm #

        Wendy – You make some good points! What we also need to do is hold big Pharma accountable for this opioid addiction crisis that is only getting worse. I hate big pharma like poison! They purposely create addicting drugs just like tobacco companies purposely got people hooked on nicotine, white, black, rich, poor, men, women, teenagers…No one is immuned. Doctors also need to be held accountable, especially those who prescribe opioids like candy. And corrupt store front doctors/pharmacists! Big pharma should be required to provide free Narcan and free treatment. I don’t see advocates and politicians demanding this. Have you seen the documentary – Cape Cod Heroin! It’s is shocking and so heartbreaking!

        • Wendy Jane February 2, 2018 at 8:04 pm #

          Hi Miriam,

          Thank you for reading and your comments here. I agree about big pharma and doctors who definitely are prescribing opioids like candy. I have not seen the documentary. I will have to watch it–thanks for the referral.

          Thanks again,

  3. Kym February 3, 2018 at 8:14 am #

    Thank you for your story. You put into words, what I feel and wanted to say.

    • Wendy Jane February 3, 2018 at 8:23 am #

      Hi Kym,

      Thanks so much for reading–its been on my mind for a while, so I’m glad I could capture some of your sentiments too.

      Thanks for your support,

  4. Sherry Gordon February 3, 2018 at 3:47 pm #

    Dear Wendy Jane,

    Well, hi, there, Wendy Jane, and greetings and salutations to you and to you AND FOR VERY ESPECIALLY FOR YOU FOR ALWAYS, my awesomely precious and dearly special soul sistahfriend who you’re FOR ALWAYS so, so very much!!!!! AWWWWWW, my sweet white sistah, AWWWWWWW!!!!! 🙂 <3 YOU have just so, so very much moved and touched me in my very heart and spirit and YOU have moved me to tears with such tears of such blessed joy with this beautiful, brilliantly beautiful blog post article here which not only affirms, supports, validates, acknowledges, and recognizes ME as a black woman and other black women and men and women and people of color but also so stands by each and every one of us like with ME as a rejoicing and proud recovering alcoholic and recovering addict black woman and for other alcoholics and addicts who are black women and black men and women and people of color!!!!!! 🙂 <3 AWWWWW, my so, so very dear, dearest, precious Wendy Jane, you've just gone straight to my very heart and spirit with this speaking to such great volumes to truth to power, telling it like it is blog post article here, sistah!!!!!! 🙂 <3 Sistahfriend, I've been so, so very incredibly blessed to be clean and sober in Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous since Sunday, August 5, 1990 and One Day At A Time I'll have 28 years clean and sober in these very empowering 12-Step Programs on Sunday, August 5, 2018 later this year, sister!!!!!! Sisterfriend, what you have shared and declared about here reminds me so much of the struggles I faced in facing, enduring, and experiencing racism, oppression, and discrimination not only as a black woman and not only as a lesbian black woman but also as a black woman and lesbian black woman who is a recovering alcoholic and recovering addict and as well as someone who also had great difficulty navigating the mental health system. Those early days seeking all of that help for myself were plagued by facing, enduring, and experiencing much racial profiling along with its accompanying racism, oppression, and discrimination, Wendy Jane. I was falling through the cracks and had so much trouble getting help back then in those early days of my recoveries and seeking help within the mental health system, my so, so very dearest and darling, precious friend, Wendy Jane!!!!! Sistahfriend, YOU are such a so, so very right on, wondrously wonderful anti-racist white woman and sistahfriend, and YOU are so, so very right on what all you have shared and declared here, sistah Wendy Jane!!!!! I, too, am mad that the opioid crisis is more gently named an opioid CRISIS whereas the crack epidemic is more harshly named a crack EPIDEMIC. WOW, Wendy Jane, you are just so, so very right on as to how there is racist language at play here when the crack addicts who are mainly black and brown with this horrid addiction receive all in all the more negative label of having an EPIDEMIC along with these so very dear crack addicts being dehumanized and criminalized both literally and figuratively and on the other hand with the mostly white opioid addicts being referred to along with their addiction with the gentler, less judgmental term as to being an opioid CRISIS. WOW!!!!! My friend, YOU have just hit the very stroke of genius with this outstanding blog post article here, Wendy Jane!!!!! WOW!!!!!!! What a masterful, brilliant composition in the written word here, my and our absolutely FANTASTIC sistah and friend, Wendy Jane!!!!!! 🙂 <3 I'm with you here, my so, so very sweet white sistahfriend, Wendy Jane, with your magnificent title to this very fine and excellent blog post article here that there also needs to be The Crack Cocaine Center of Excellence!!!!! Sister, I'm just so, so very glad, thrilled, overjoyed, and happy with your vastly extensive, well-qualified background in working with alcoholics and addicts and with the very empowering work you continue to do along these lines and with the very powerful work you do as an ally for folks who are seeking and gaining help in the mental health system. I had such joy reading all about your great experiences doing so and my very eyes just teared up with such sheer blessed joy, Wendy Jane!!!!! WOW, Wendy Jane, You're just the very greatest and best with your so, so very dear and special, beautiful heart and spirit with such keen, deeply profound empathy being just the perfect person to work with alcoholics and addicts and others in the mental healthy system!!!!!! 🙂 <3 My very, very heart and spirit ached for you, sistah, as you wrote so deeply about your former boyfriend a long time ago who was a cocaine, and then a crack addict and how you tried to help him!!!!!!! 🙂 <3 I can so relate, Wendy Jane!!!!! I think of how I'm estranged from my family of origin and I tried and tried to no avail to get my father and my now late mother, now late eldest brother, Joe, and the other older brother, and the rest of the family to get help like I was doing in becoming clean and sober and getting family and individual therapy!!!!!!! I've been also a member of Al-Anon and Adult Children of Alcoholics, Nar-Anon, and very, very many other of my very, very many, multiple 12-Step Programs, too, along with being a member of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, sistahfriend!!!!!! Sistah, YOU are so, so very right on!!!! Reparations are so sorely and urgently needed for the so very dear black and brown folks being labeled and criminalized for being crack addicts and marijuana addicts whereas the opioid addicts, most of whom are white and with some being middle class, too, are treated more gently and offered treatment and NOT prisons and jails like the very many of the black and brown addicts are doomed to, sisterfriend!!!!!!! YOU are so, so very right on, Wendy Jane!!!!! Alcoholism and the other addictions are very much diseases which need treatment and NOT dehumanization and NOT criminalization!!!!!!! Sister, YOU are so, so very right on as to how the racist and discriminatory oppression against black and brown people having used crack and marijuana, and other drugs with them becoming a part of the incarceration evil totally has and continues to destroy their lives and their families. YOU are so, so very right on, Wendy Jane, this is such a complete double standard in how very many of the black and brown addicts using or having used crack and marijuana, and other stuff are treated NOT offering them treatment but INSTEAD prison and jail time whereas the opioid addicts in a general sense are treated more gently with being offered treatment and NOT prisons and jails and that the opioid addicts are often white, and even middle class. I know that even with the white, sometimes middle class, opioid addicts that they don't always receive compassion, understanding, and gentleness like you so poignantly shared and declared here like with the conversation you overheard in the coffee shop. However, overall in a general sense black and brown addicts are viewed and treated more harshly often becoming a part of the criminal justice system. Wendy Jane, I just so, so very much love and cherish YOU, my sistah and friend, and how you use your beautiful, brilliantly beautiful and empowering art work and art therapy to help your beloved patients who need mental health recovery, those who are homeless, and the alcoholics and other addicts!!!!!! 🙂 <3 Sistah, You've just gone straight to my very heart and spirit with just being the WONDERFUL YOU who YOU ARE, my sistahfriend, and with all of the great and powerful, effective, productively proactive, efficient work that you do with such a gracious heart and spirit, Wendy Jane!!!!!! 🙂 <3 YOU ARE just absolutely AWESOME, Wendy Jane!!!!!! 🙂 <3

    Sistahfriend, I think of my own journey in getting and seeking help for my alcoholism and other addictions, and for mental health. Those early days for me were really hard, really stressful, and I wasn't always treated with dignity and respect, and, in fact, I faced, endured, and experienced racism, oppression, and discrimination, and racial profiling. I was often ghettoized and treated with suspicion and have access, help, and resources withheld from me. I faced a lack of understanding and was sometimes treated with such impatience, and some of the workers I dealt with didn't have confidence in me that I could make it and practically just came right out and said so, sister. Sisterfriend, I did a self-referral for myself into therapy and psychiatric care and into 12-Step Programs. I first went to an AA meeting in January 1987 and I relapsed for 3 1/2 years until I finally became clean and sober on Sunday, August 5, 1990. Back in the 1980s before I began to receive my low, fixed income with my disability benefits I didn't always have work and had no insurance. I tried to get into treatment back then but they wouldn't take me without insurance, and one of the people I talked to at a treatment center wouldn't take me without insurance and she told me to just go to meetings. When I used to drink and use I'd use marijuana, and for a time in my teens I used speed, and all throughout my using I was abusing over-the-counter and prescription medications. In my twenties in the 1980s I'd drink and take my psychiatric medicines at the same time. I had been seeing a psychiatrist since the age of fifteen who was a friend of my parents but he didn't help me and committed medical abuse against me and broke my confidentiality and enabled my parents and family in their abuse in every way against me. Then when I was almost in my mid-twenties I did a self-referral for myself to get my choice of a therapist and psychiatrist and into 12-Step Programs. I face a lot of resistance in those early days when I tried to get help for myself, my friend!!!!!! My friend, I even remember receiving some racist comments from some of my workers back then, and even being called the n-word to my face when I'd go to my 12-Step Program meetings. WOW, sistah, those early days were really difficult for me and such a struggle. It is just a miracle that I never faced the criminal justice system, sister. Sister, I've never been arrested and I don't have a record. Even though I never faced the criminal justice system I can still relate to the dehumanization, racism, oppression, and discrimination the other black and brown folks faced in general and as alcoholics and addicts because I faced, endured, and experienced a lot of racist, oppressive, and discriminatory traps when I tried to get help for myself. Other than alcohol and marijuana like with wine and rum, wine cooler and other stuff, for drugs I formerly abused over-the-counter and prescription medications, I think someone slipped me LSD when I was 20 about to turn 21, and in my teens I abused speed, and with my drug history I took anything that people would hand to me without exactly knowing what it was!!!!! WOW!!!!!! Miracles DO really happen for I am a miracle-to be EVEN ALIVE and to be recovering for all of these years!!!!! God is just so, so very GOOD, Wendy Jane!!!!! I'm just so, so very incredibly blessed with so, so very innumerable blessings that I just cannot count all of them, my friend!!!!!!!

    Sistahfriend, I'm just so, so very shedding tears of such sheer and blessed joy from this beautiful, absolutely and brilliantly beautiful blog post article by absolutely AWESOME YOU here, Wendy Jane!!!!!! 🙂 <3 WOW, my so, so very sweet white and Jewish sistah I'm just so, so very moved and touched in my very heart and spirit by YOU, my so, so very sweet Jewish and white sistahfriend, with this very engaging and endearing blog post article, and by all you do in such a diligently conscientious manner straight from your so, so very beautiful, special, and dearest and darling heart and spirit, Wendy Jane!!!!!! 🙂 <3 WOW!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!! YAY for YOU, Wendy Jane!!!!!! WOW!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!! YAY YAY YAY YAY!!!!!! YAY for our very sisterhood and friendship, Wendy Jane!!!!!! WOW!!!!! YAY!!!!!!! YAY YAY YAY YAY!!!!!! Sistah, I thank-YOU and God continually FOR YOU, Wendy Jane, and for your very presence in my very life, Wendy Jane!!!! Wendy Jane, YOU ARE my very life and eternal blessings, my sistah!!!!!! 🙂 <3 Sistahfriend, please have such a superbly super Saturday, such a wondrously wonderful rest of your weekend, and may all of your very days be so, so very especially blessed, Wendy Jane!!!!! I just cannot wait and am bursting with such delightfully eager anticipation to write all of my responses the way I always do for this astounding blog post article here!!!!! I'll very joyously do so with such joy, honor, blessing, and pleasure as soon as I'm able and I just cannot wait!!!!!! 🙂 <3 Spirit so, so very much loves and cherishes YOU A WHOLE LOT, Wendy Jane, AND SO DO I, TOO, A WHOLE LOT AND A WHOLE BUNCH, my sister and friend!!!!! 🙂 <3

    Very Warmly and Sincerely FOR ALWAYS, my so, so very FOR ALWAYS awesomely special and dearly precious soul sistahfriend white woman who you're FOR ALWAYS so, so very much, Wendy Jane, sisterfriend of mine, with My and Spirit's Peace and Love

    • Wendy Jane February 3, 2018 at 10:37 pm #

      Hi Sherry,

      Thank you so, so much for sharing so openly and honestly here about your experiences with addiction and recovery. I am so sorry for what you had to go through in having to face discrimination and oppression and racism in your strong desire to help yourself, to become sober. What inner strength you have and had to have back then when you knew you needed, and wanted, help, but didn’t have people who had faith in you to help you get started. You have a billion times more strength as a human being than I will ever have, and I have a deep admiration for you and the beautiful spirit that you are, and that you share with me, and everyone you come across.

      I am happy for the peace you have found within yourself with 28 years of sobriety come August 5th this year. Thank you for being such a support to me, and a great inspiration for me to keep going with my writing.

      Blessings to you every day, Sherry!

      Your sisterfriend,
      Wendy Jane

  5. Sherry Gordon February 3, 2018 at 3:51 pm #

    Ooops, continued something went wrong when I was finishing my response…FOR YOU FOR ALWAYS, sister of mine, and with SUCH BLESSINGS AND SUCH VERY EVEN MORE BLESSINGS FOR YOU FOR ALWAYS, friend of mine, 🙂 <3

    YOURS FOR ALWAYS soul sistahfriend black woman AND FOR ALWAYS in the very great spirit of unity and solidarity, Sherry Gordon in Iowa City, Iowa 🙂 <3

  6. Ellen February 5, 2018 at 9:43 pm #

    Wendy, I agree with all that you say here, and have felt this way for many years. It is so lopsided and inequitable. And, of course, leave it up to (my beloved) San Francisco to lead the way with progressive actions like reversing all of those ridiculous prosecutions and letting people get on with their lives with clean records. This whole phenomenon has been the great “unspoken” ugly sore of this country for so long now. I hope it changes. Really great piece.

    • Wendy Jane February 20, 2018 at 10:56 pm #

      Hi Ellen,

      Thanks so much for reading and your thoughtful comments. Yes, to all that you say! I pray for change, too!

      Thank you, my friend,

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