Thursday, October 4, 2012

Paul Z. Simons: Anarchy in Johnny's Newsstand.

Paul Z. Simons, a onetime writer and editor for the magazine he's seen holding, at a now-defunct Denver newsstand. (I'm amused at how there's a loaded gun on the cover of TIME magazine, but not on Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed -- stereotypes be damned.) Currently, he's an editor for the magazine Modern Slavery: A Journal for the Abolition of all forms of Enslavement.

And Simons is also a onetime employer of mine. In the '90s, he headed an HIV and Hepatitis C prevention group called People Engaged in Education and Reduction Strategies (PEERS). From '97 to '98, I helped coordinate the organization's activities. Our non-profit co-hosted a conference on harm reduction that was attended by the health departments of several Western states, as well as Colorado's future governor. (My article on the event can be found here, on pg. 28.) We spearheaded a change in Denver law concerning syringe exchange, and attempted to reform state law in the legislature. And we hosted a regional user's group which solicited advice, on behalf of state funding overseers, from injection drug users on how to best offer services.

I once asked Simons how he managed to be a political outsider, yet still officiate in a very public way within the system.

"Compartmentalization," he shot back.

I still find that to be particularly helpful advice.

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