We are all recovering from something. Many of the members at the Café have substance use issues. Many have mental health issues. Some are dealing with life situations. None are bad people. They have experienced things that they can't effectively manage on their own. They need help.
We have fun. We laugh. We encourage one another, listen without judgement, and we share our stories to help others feel less alone. We let people express their pain and fear with no fear of rejection. We don't try to "fix" anyone.
If you try to define people by a word or dismiss them with a derogatory phrase, please, leave us in peace. If you believe in some simple-minded definition that makes you feel superior to others, you may as well stop reading now. If you support the 1970's drug policies and ideas, you are wrong and there is a ton of science you should look into.
50 years of "lock 'em up" drug policies and we have more illegal drug use, more families in crisis, more communities suffering, more people incarcerated (we lead the world in imprisoned people *, **, ***), more death, more spending, more laws... All evidence shows that our drug policies are failed. Common sense should tell us to change. But we don't.
Why? Because (in part) politicians can get elected by making you scared. "Tough on Crime, Vote for Me" is a message that wins, even in communities where crime is at historic lows. It works in big cities and small places like Rochester and Fulton County. It works because we are not really a community like we once were.
We fear each other. We don't know each other. Economic policies have changed neighborhoods and communities. Family structures are far less bonded than in previous generations. We don't know who lives across the street. We don't know relatives. We don't know our co-workers because we change jobs every few years.
And at night, we plop down in front of our ninety-nine-inch TV, we tune to our favorite cable news network. And, for as long as we sit and watch, we are fed a steady stream of how bad "they" are. Did it ever occur that you are "they" to them?
Humans need connections. We need each other. Science can demonstrate it, each of our lives are evidence of it. We need to be connected to other people. We need connections when times are good, and especially when times are challenging.
That's why the Café works. We connect people. We connect with people. We would like to connect with you. After all, the Café is open and available to everyone. Every time someone asks me how they can help, I tell them the same thing - be nice, dammit.
I phrase it that way because people seem to not get it. Be nice means don't gossip about someone. It means don't call them terrible names. It means offer them a kind word. It means ask your neighbor if they need a hand. It means check on those who live alone. It means volunteer your time. It means try. It means help in whatever way you can. It means listen.
For further specific instructions please see the words in red.