|June 15, 2020
We cannot express how grateful we are for your patience and support during this incredibly challenging time. As Americans mourn the impacts of simultaneous pandemics, one thing is clear: we have a lot of work to do.
These past several months have been emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually taxing for each of you and our team, partners, stakeholders, and the broader social services community. Over the past weeks, our team took the time to listen and learn from Black and Brown friends, colleagues, leaders, and groups. We brainstormed ideas around promoting inclusivity and diversity internally and externally and will continue to do so with our Board of Directors and staff leadership in an upcoming strategic planning session.
We know that with privilege comes power, and with power comes responsibility. We’re motivated, focused, and ready to continue our quest alongside many of you to end the injustices of racial groups and marginalized communities by reforming multi-layered systems that perpetuate harms.
Part of our reflective process included identifying ways we can re-operationalize our programs once again for the latest phase of COVID-19, keeping safety and access to care at the center of our decision making. While specific programs will remain virtual, others are slowly shifting back to in-person connections with safety precautions in place, and a team trained to engage appropriately. Here is what you can expect:
- Harm Reduction Outreach (including NARCAN/naloxone)
- The Stigma Crusher is hitting the streets again, beginning June 18th in Waukegan from 1-4 PM at 10th and Mcalister! We’ll be at the same place and same time every week. Look for the big purple truck! We will ask participants to line up six feet apart, and masks will be distributed to those without one. Supplies offered include toiletries, bottled water, non-perishable food items, masks, hand sanitizer, bags, safe sex supplies, and safe using supplies. We’ll collect and safely dispose of any used equipment.
- Professional and group harm reduction/NARCAN training will continue virtually. Supplies can be ordered and delivered to you directly.
- Harm reduction education and supply distribution for individuals and families can take place in-person at our office in Arlington Heights or virtually via GoToMeeting. If in-person, participants will have their temperature taken at the door and must wear a mask. If you do not have a mask, we can provide one for you. If your temperature if over 100 degrees, we will need to reschedule or switch to a virtual format.
- Supply delivery is available to anyone in northern Illinois. We can mail out supplies to anyone outside of that area across the U.S. We will do our best to connect you with your local harm reduction outreach agency.
- Reach out to Michelle Kavouras, Programs Manager, to access any of the services mentioned above at 844-584-5254 x807 or [email protected]
- Peer Support
- Recovery coaching and case management services for individuals and families can take place in-person at our office in Arlington Heights or virtually. If in-person, participants will have their temperature taken at the door and must wear a mask. If you do not have a mask, we can provide one for you. To request support, please call 844-584-5254 x812.
- Transportation services have been a huge need across Chicagoland. We can now offer to transport participants in Lake, suburban Cook, McHenry, and DuPage counties to a recovery-oriented location (doctor’s office visit, counseling appointment, probation or parole meeting, etc.). Participants must wear a mask, which we can provide. To request a ride, please call 844-584-5254 x812.
- Peer support group meetings will continue virtually for grief, and individual and family recovery. Please visit https://live4lali.org/peersupport/ for updates.
- Community Education
- Our digital education series, Support Safety Science, was very successful, educating nearly 500 social workers, counselors, educators, advocates, and others over four weeks. We will continue to offer this service in the future, and we plan to roll out a new schedule in August with more virtual training!
- If your agency would like us to provide education on substance use and co-occurring disorders, recovery, harm reduction, sex work, and more, please visit https://live4lali.org/our-programs/education/. You can request training by filling out the form on that page. All training will be provided virtually until further notice.
- For questions, reach out to Michelle Kavouras, Programs Manager, at 844-584-5254 x807 or [email protected]
Lastly, since its inception, Live4Lali is charged with promoting justice and dignity for people who use drugs and those who love them. History has made it clear that the war on drugs is a war on people, and especially on race. Many people ask us about our efforts around advocacy. Our legislative advocacy program is continuously operating, lead by me. We will do more to ensure all of you are aware of our efforts in this area. Hopefully, you will be as proud as I am about the progress we have made while recognizing we must continue to act boldly. It is our mission to work towards reducing the many various traumatic harms caused by systemic oppression. That is, in essence, the core of our work, and we will be announcing critical legislative efforts in the coming weeks and months.
If you want more information or to get involved, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. Oh, and don’t go navigating away before checking out our fantastic program information listed below!
Chelsea Laliberte Barnes, MSSA, LSW
Co-Founder & Advocacy Strategist
Direct: 844-584-5254 x802
Email: [email protected]