For Mona Bennett, Program Manager, Atlanta Harm Reduction Center
"Sometimes you have to say, 'Fuck the law, we're going to save lives,'" Mona Bennett told Creative Loafing in 2001. For more than a decade, Bennett has walked a legal tightrope every time she's gone to work as program manager for the Atlanta Harm Reduction Center. Technically, Bennett and other workers are distributing drug paraphernalia when they exchange dirty syringes for clean ones during biweekly street outreach programs in the Westside community known as "the Bluff." But even the government's own statistics support the work, showing the center's harm reduction approach saves lives and helps stub the spread of diseases associated with risky behavior like intravenous drug use and unprotected sex. Maybe that's why coppers tend to leave Bennett and her colleagues alone. Maybe that's why she continues her tireless and often thankless work after all these years.