Interview with HIPS DC Advocacy Manager, Tamika Spellman

May 6, 2022

Our host and writer, Lakeesha Harris, is honored to welcome Tamika Spellman to Old Pro News to discuss their advocacy for harm reduction and the decriminalization of sex work. They also chat about the #DECRIMNOW campaign and why we need to center — and pay! — black trans women in the movement. 

Lakeesha Harris first officially met Tamika Spellman on a panel regarding sex worker inclusion, and decriminalization, in drug policy conversations at the National Harm Reduction conference in New Orleans back in 2018. Her voice was powerful as she spoke on the issues that Black Trans sex workers face when gaining access, whether it’s seats at the table of policy conversations or jobs within non-profit spaces. 

HIPS DC’s Mission:

HIPS advances the health rights and dignity, of people and communities impacted by sex work and drug use by providing non-judgmental harm reduction services, advocacy, and community engagement led by those with lived experience.

We believe that those engaged in sex work, sex trade, and drug use should be able to live healthy, self-determined, and self-sufficient lives free from stigma, violence, criminalization or oppression. We will achieve this through engaging sex workers, drug users and our communities in challenging structural barriers to health, safety, and prosperity.

We always offer syringe exchange, both through our drop in center or via delivery on our outreach van, condom distribution, access to overdose prevention supplies, and linkage to HIPS full menu of support services, as well as mental health support, access to housing, and substance use treatment in a client centered harm reduction environment. Multiple support groups occur daily and include refreshments. Clients can drop in to our center Monday – Friday for showers and laundry, access to our clothing closet, and get connected to HIPS services.