If knowledge is power then we need to put the research findings and teach the skills to those we seek to empower. It is my hope that one day I will feel proud and competent as opposed to honored and grateful.
The National Urban Survivor’s Union is a national drug user union! So, What does this mean? Well, it means that drug users, both former and active have come together, just like a labor union -to fight for rights that we currently we do not have. The government declared war on drugs, and when they did this they declared war on drug users. NO MORE!
Too often the voice of the drug user is ignored, or simply brushed off. People hear from a drug user about a frustration they have or an issue they are dealing with and too often people decide without knowing the person that because they use drugs, or have a hx of drug use, they are probably exaggerating or not telling the truth.
Urban Survivor’s Union members are Experts! We are Activists! and we are a family! We stick together. We fight together.
HOW TO FORM A CHAPTER
In order to become a new chapter you must read and agree with the bylaws, you must have 3 active members and you must have a chapter willing to sponsor you.
Chapters have 2 delegates who sit on national board and each chapter has their own local board.
Most of USU’S politicking and organizing will be carried out by our local chapters that do everything from staging protest marches and pickets to coordinating educational programs. Each chapter must have at least _____ members and each elects its own, generally unpaid, officials. Each chapter must elect a president and treasurer and usually elects additional officials such as a vice president. In a handful of large cities, local officers get paid.
USU’s bylaws stipulate that “the National Conference shall be the supreme governing body of USU”. The National board is made up of delegates from each local chapter (2).
Decisions made by the national board are binding to all members of USU. Aside from having to adhere to the bylaws and policies decided by National Board the local chapters are relatively autonomous, working on issues that best suit their communities.
State Organizations (Eventually Not until Much Later)
Each state also has a state organization which focuses on public policy and advocacy in the various state legislatures. The only leadership position that the state organizations must have is a state coordinator, also referred to as the state president. But often there are other officials who, along with the president, are elected at state conferences. Officials at the state level are usually volunteers, although a state organization might hire a lobbyist. In some cases, the paid lobbyist and the president are one and the same. State organizations are run by a board made up of a handful of local chapter representatives, and the state president and other officials. States have their own bylaws, none of which can conflict with the national ones.
The national board of directors is comprised of USU members from the state chapters. They meet every months and discuss issues such as funding. The national board also makes policy decisions. The national board does have the authority to remove USU officers, board members, members or chapters if they have acted against USU policies.
All levels of USU work together to some degree almost all of the time. While local chapters have freedom to do the work they want, rarely will they stage an action without help from the national and state organization.
Below are some videos of USU members and videos discussing the importance of drug user unions. Hope you enjoy. Please be in touch with USU if you would like to form a user union or join us!