Activists Brooke Feldman and Evan Figueroa-Vargas came to speak to our class on Tuesday, February 13th. They spoke about their recovery stories and discussed social justice issues within recovery and addiction itself.

For Feldman, her experience was different than Figueroa-Vargas. Socially, for Figueroa-Vargas he went to jail and finally getting treatment. Figueroa-Vargas’ story captured my attention the most, because for people in the Latino and Black communities, they are labeled as criminals if they struggle with substance abuse disorder. A white person that struggles with SUD there is some empathy for them. It frustrates me because it just adds to the stigma. Latino and Black people who struggle with SUD suffer from some kind of trauma too. They are sick and they deserve treatment too.

This reminded me of when I was struggling with my eating disorder. Even though I am not fully in recovery, when I first told my story a comment was made to me: “you don’t look you have an eating disorder.”. There’s a stigma that eating disorders have a “look”. Addiction like eating disorders, do not have a look or race. It’s frustrating that this is the way our society is, but us journalists, producers, and media creators have the tools to change that. It’s up to us to use the right language when it comes to the topic of addiction. We need to learn, educate, and research to show our society that addiction affects EVERYONE AND ANYONE.

The speakers really inspired me to possibly interview families of color and people of color about their addiction stories. I think this would be an excellent video and visual story too.