In February 2020, our community came together for a Night of Music dedicated to individuals who use or have used substances and their allies. This Night of Music featured Pittsburgh rapper “Colicchie” who writes about his lived experience with addiction, mental health challenges, street living, etc. When Colicchie came to KW in February, our community worked alongside him at a Songwriting workshop where we developed our own song as a way to explain our experiences with the ongoing overdose epidemic. Writing alongside an individual with lived experience allowed individuals to feel heard and begin looking at how music can be used as a voice to externalize pain, release difficult emotions, and form supportive connections with others.
In the face of the COVID-19 Pandemic, we have seen an increase in drug poisoning and overdoses. Many supports that our street population usually access are closed or limited, and many individuals are using alone and in unsafe conditions. Our community is trying to follow all COVID-19 Precautions while also still promoting the harm-reduction message of “you are not alone, you are loved, we see you and we want you to be safe.”
One way we hope to deliver this message of compassionate harm-reduction is by creating a Music Video for the song written with Colicchie. Colicchie has volunteered to send in a video clip from Pittsburgh to be part of the video. Our community members would be featured in the video in any creative form they feel most comfortable (ex. playing guitar, singing, drawing, etc.) Each individual will be filmed one at a time, with the footage being compiled to create a Community Music Video. This music video would be shown at several community service locations (Emergency Shelters, Soup Kitchens, etc.) on Overdose Awareness Day (August 31st) as a way to acknowledge the beautiful lives we have lost and celebrate the beautiful people we walk alongside today.