Catharsis On The Washington, DC Mall
Above: Catharsis on the Mall, the burning of the Temple by Ben Harper from Facebook.
A Vigil For Healing The Drug War
There was an unusual drug war event held on the mall this weekend: Catharsis on the Mall. The event included speakers and panels, opportunities to remember people impacted by the drug war and looking forward to the end of the drug war. The event, we featured information sharing from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), Students for Sensible Drug Policy, DCMJ, and more.
An art installation, The Temple of Essence, stood as a monument to honor the victims of the drug war. It was a peace-building structure focused on the communities impacted by this conflict and the mass incarceration of our citizens. This Temple brought people together and created a space for reflection and healing.
For 24 hours, people were invited to share their stories of struggle, honor, remembrance, and hope within the walls of the Temple of Essence.
On the evening of Saturday, November 21, 2015, the event culminated in a burning ceremony of the Temple of Essence transforming our individual stories into collective memory. Then, people celebrated until the sun rose, dancing until after 8 AM.
• The Temple was installed on November 20, 2015 and people interacted with until 6pm on November 21, 2015 (when burn performance preparations began).
• Participants shared their stories on the structure using chalk.
• People were invited to bring small mementos (photos, letters, etc) of those impacted by the drug war to be burned together.
• The Burn Ceremony started at 10:30pm on November 21, 2015.
For more information, photographs, commentary and video visit their Facebook page.