Genocide & Magic, a Psychedelic Constellations reflection by Danielle Hererra, AMFT
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North Star Project stands in solidarity with black communities. Black lives matter. The murder of George Floyd by police sits along with many murders, including Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade and Breonna Taylor, as a blight on the American promise of freedom.

The systemic racism that perpetuates these killings also economically, structurally, and politically disenfranchises black indigenous people of color (BIPOC). For four hundred years white American culture has resisted facing this shadow. Millions of lives and families have been broken along the way. Until this shadow is faced, this country will never heal.

Psychedelic commercialization must not reproduce the same power structures that have brought about this moment in our country. It is not just capitalism. It is not just patriarchy. It is white power. Cannabis licenses are being given out in states still holding black and brown people in prison for marijuana offenses. Commercial cannabis licensing and policy decisions are not inclusive, with 'social equity' programs failing black and brown entrepreneurs in major cities like Los Angeles.

Today the leaders of psychedelic business are mostly white as well. The vast majority are men. It is to this fact that North Star Project points when we say the people with the most structural power have the greatest moral responsibility to make change. Words are not enough. Solidarity must go hand in hand with action.

Some practical considerations for psychedelic businesses around racial justice: Education:

  • The War on Drugs is deeply intertwined with psychedelic history. One of the most unethical things a psychedelic business could do is to structurally perpetuate systemic oppression for the sake of profit
  • This starts with a commitment to researching and understanding disparities in health outcomes for communities of color vs. white communities, as well as asking hard questions about the implications of the organization's strategy and business model
Structural Power:

  • It is not enough to seek the voices of black and indigenous people of color. Those voices must be heard. What matters is structural power: governance accountability
  • Companies can ensure that real organizational decision making authority, such as C-Suite leadership and board seats, is wielded by black and indigenous people of color
Reciprocity:

Representation:

  • Conference organizers, media platforms, podcast hosts, event coordinators, and others building platforms across psychedelics have an opportunity and obligation to raise marginalized perspectives and build power and influence for marginalized voices by committing to an ethos of representation for black and indigenous people of color in their work
Policy:

  • The War on Drugs is a national disgrace. It has cost trillions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of lives, and millions of broken families, while leading to militarization of the police, mass incarceration, and criminalization of black and brown bodies. It has categorically failed to achieve its intended results
  • It is time to end drug prohibition regulations and laws, which cause as much, if not more, societal harm than the drugs themselves
North Star is in its own process around racial justice. At the core of our values, mission, and vision is a commitment to the transformation of systems of oppression. We aspire towards it and consistently come up short. We endeavor to remain humble while staying in a constant process around communication, feedback, and improvement. The world we dream of remains incredibly far away. It is only by doing our best to model that future now that we can hope to someday make it real.

We can start by collectively affirming as an organization, as a field, and a society, the fundamental truth that black lives matter. So long as that freedom for life is denied, America be a land of broken dreams.

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Cited Resources:

Learn more about the North Star Ethics Pledge here

Our Words Are Not Enough
By North Star Project

North Star engaged over one hundred psychedelic stakeholders, including elders, clinicians, investors, and community, to develop the North Star Ethics Pledge.

The pledge is a beginning - a baseline commitment toward shaping work in the psychedelic field around integrity. The pledge is a tool for naming an intention.
North Star Ethics Pledge
North Star is committed to a future of worldwide psychedelic healing delivered ethically, equitably, and accessibly within and outside of commercial models. North Star's mission is to center psychedelic wisdom into psychedelic business, to not only radically improve mental health, but to develop the business practices that can serve as guiding lights in the needed transformation of business as a whole.
North Star's Mission:
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