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Why We’re Starting Reframe Health and Justice

Magalie Lerman

People often ask me how I got off the streets and overcame addiction. I wish the answer was simple and concise, but the truth is that a convergence of life events, privilege, opportunity, and an introduction to harm reduction made it happen. When talking with people who use drugs and folks trading sex who ask this question, I have come to answer this way: To break any habitual cycle, you must have something to put in its place. It is kind of like oil in a car. You can’t just take out the old oil and expect a car to run — you have to put new oil in. I encourage people to find their new oil. Mine was public health and human rights activism. Connection to these communities and their guiding philosophies helped me heal by reframing the meaning and weight of health and justice.

Instead of being angry at myself and others for the pain attached to the things that we do while trying to survive, I learned to direct my anger at the systems and injustices that create and maintain survival conditions. The shame and stigma I held about trading sex, doing drugs, stealing, and lying turned into gratitude that I was able to simply survive, and a resolve to deconstruct all the -isms and -phobias that criminalize, demonize, and ostracize survival. I learned to take accountability for myself and my own actions while also recognizing sociopolitical factors that impact me and my actions.

To reframe something is to release old ideologies and feelings that keep people stuck. It is an expanded perspective and a more complete picture that helps people move forward. Over the past seven years of working at non-profits and with the public and private sectors, I have come to reframe success too. I have learned that the process of achieving a result is just as important as the outcome, that people are just as important as products, and that a strategy is needed to make awareness impactful. There is an emotional distance between survival and success that involves replacing fear and punishment-based paradigms with non-judgemental and compassionate approaches. Reframe Health and Justice (RHJ) Consulting was formed to support people, organizations, and systems in navigating this distance.

RHJ consultants have experience surviving the current health and justice paradigms. Sasanka, Kate, Shaan, and I realized that rather than waiting around for organizations to create a culture and roles that support our identities, knowledge, skillsets and experiences, we would bring our ability to navigate and understand multiple facets of society to other organizations to help build better agencies and systems from the outside-in. The four of us work as individual consultants under a common vision and set of values, as well as a shared power structure and system of collective support.

We have over twenty collective years of experience in community organizing, professional writing, communications, work-based training, policy implementation, meeting management, and strategic planning. Plainly put, we understand how to support transformation and we are here to support others in this process. Sociopolitical constructs of race, gender, and bodily autonomy impact the way that we all survive and interact with the world. Whether your work deals directly with these issues or not, and whether you work in a non-profit, governmental agency, corporation, or small business, we will support you in your process of reframing health and justice, survival and success.

Please email to connect with us. We can provide a list of training and workshops that we offer. We also offer customized support! Connect with us on Facebook and LinkedIn to see our blog, publications, and current activities. You can always contact our consultants individually as well. We look forward to working with you to create safer and healthier workplaces, families, and communities.

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Please reach out - we work with lots of people with lots of budgets. To learn more about pricing, visit our contact page.