We have exciting news!
After seeing the success of VOCAL-NY’s organizing model, our long-time friends at the Public Defender Association – a leading legal advocacy organization in Seattle – approached us to collaborate on a new project to put people who use drugs, people living with HIV/AIDS, and the formerly incarcerated at the front of political advocacy impacting their lives.
The Public Defender Association had long admired our organizing model, and knew that despite their incredible success as lawyers and advocates they couldn’t make lasting transformative change without building power among those directly impacted by the issues they work on.
After many conversations with our board, staff, and leaders – we are happy to announce the launch of VOCAL Washington (VOCAL-WA)!
Built in partnership with VOCAL-NY, VOCAL-WA is a membership-led, grassroots project based in Seattle, Washington that is working to build power among low-income people impacted by the war on drugs, homelessness, mass incarceration, and HIV/AIDS. VOCAL-WA’s first campaigns are working to end Seattle’s homelessness crisis and to allow supervised consumption facilities in Seattle to reduce overdose deaths, HIV and viral hepatitis infection, and other harms associated with injection drug use. This work builds on the Public Defender Association’s nearly two-decade history of fighting racial disparities in the criminal justice system, promoting the innovative, nationally-recognized Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program, and more.
We have some big goals – and we know we can’t reach them without a movement behind us. That’s why we are thrilled to bring the VOCAL-NY model to the West Coast, and even happier that it was in partnership with some of the most innovative advocates around drug policy, criminal justice reform, and harm reduction in the country.
We can’t wait to see VOCAL-WA grow and get stronger – and we’re proud that our powerful model for community organizing is spreading across the country with partners like these!
Alyssa Aguilera & Jeremy Saunders
Co-Executive Directors, VOCAL-NY
More about the Public Defender Association: www.defender.org