SWAN has always believed in the principles of “Nothing about us without us.” At the heart of our harm reduction work and sex worker advocacy is the belief that those most impacted by stigma and criminalization are most qualified to lead. That’s why we have put together a leadership team with lived experience in sex work, drug use, incarceration, and/or homelessness.
Our work would not be possible without our large network of volunteers and partners. SWAN is not just an organization, but a community.
FROM OUR FOUNDER
I am proud to work with directly impacted people like myself. As a mother of three who survived rape, drugs, prison, homelessness, and the cold streets, I connect with those who have had similar survival experiences.
Those of us with lived experience are most knowledgeable of best practices and procedures. I, and members of SWAN, work closely with community members to help develop better harm reduction policies that will help keep people safer and healthier.
During her time in federal prison Beatrice was active in the Danbury FCI AIDS Awareness Group which sought to educate women in prison about HIV prevention and lessen the stigma against HIV+ people. She also taught reading skills to the women at Danbury. In prison her greatest achievement was taking the Bureau of Prisons to court in an effort to eliminate cross-gender pat searches for women who had been sexually or physically abused. Beatrice was granted an exemption that opened the door for other women in the federal prison system to apply for an exemption.
Beatrice is now the Managing Editor of Reentry Central, a nationally recognized website on reentry and criminal justice reform issues. She is also co-founder of the groups Real Women Real Voices, the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, and the Women’s Resettlement Working Group. Additionally she is on the Connecticut Bail Fund’s Community Advisory Board.
CONNECTICUT HARM REDUCTION ALLIANCE
As of October 2020, SWAN is a program of the CT Harm Reduction Alliance, under the leadership of Executive Director Mark Jenkins.
This means that SWAN is part of the CTHRA team, and CTHRA is part of the SWAN team. It is an incredible opportunity to work as a part of this statewide team of dedicated harm reduction advocates.
In July 2020, SWAN suffered the indescribable loss of our friend and beloved community advocate, Jason Crowell. In addition to being SWAN’s Outreach Director, Jason was also a Substance Abuse Counselor with Cornell-Scott Hill Health Center. He was a recent graduate from Southern Connecticut State University’s Master of Social Work program with plans to start his Master of Public Health this fall.
As many know, Jason was a tireless community advocate and harm reductionist. He dedicated himself to supporting and building power with people most marginalized and dehumanized in our world. It is impossible to capture his profound impact on so many lives over the years. He was passionate about ending the war on drugs, opening safe injection sites, and uprooting stigma against drug users and other oppressed people. He fought, humbly and unapologetically, with and for his communities.
We will miss, every day, Jason’s compassionate and courageous spirit. He was a beacon of hope and love to many. We know Jason can never be replaced, but we will do our best to carry forward his legacy and honor his visions of justice and a better world for all.