Oct. 25, 2021 – . The Young Lords worked as the doctors’ assistants and translators for the Spanish-speaking patients. “So we have to explain to them, ‘When you get acupuncture, you’re not going to get a rush, but you’re gonna feel so relaxed that you think you’re gonna feel you’re naturally high,’” Walter Bosque, a former Young Lord and nursing student at the time, recalls. “And people started liking it, they wanted more, and we got very popular.” The clinic opened at 9 a.m., but people would start lining up at 7 in the morning. For the first eight months, the clinic was in financial limbo and everyone worked for free. Eventually, it received city funding and could pay its staff. By 1971, the clinic was detoxing 600 people every ten days, and many patients participated in the clinic’s political-education program. Lessons involved reading and discussing books like Capitalism Plus Dope Equals Genocide by Michael Tabor or Mao’s Little Red Book. “The patients are, unfortunately, thinking that they’re the problem, that they’re the misfits,” Bosque said. “They don’t realize that the society is corrupt.” The idea was to get people clean and turn them into activists, too — and some patients did eventually become volunteers at the clinic.


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