Setting Up Lincoln Detox: The Revolutionary Roots of the NADA Protocol

In May 2021 NADA hosted the second event of its 2021 History Series. Johanna Fernández (The Young Lords: A Radical History) led a conversation with organizers Cleo Silvers and Vincente ‘Panama’ Alba. We concluded with small group discussion and sharing about the impact of learning about this history.


Event Description

The takeover of Lincoln Hospital November 10, 1970, was a pivotal moment in the story of Lincoln Detox. Equally important is what happened next. How did the takeover happen? And how did it lead to Lincoln Detox? What was the programming and structure? In our second installment of our 2021 Community History Dialogue series we heard from the firsthand experience of Cleo Silvers and Panama Alba about the takeover and everything that happened next to set up a Detox Program by and for the people of the South Bronx.

About the Speakers

As a community mental health worker and member of the Black Panther Party and Young Lords, Cleo Silvers played key roles in events which led to the 1970 people’s takeover of Lincoln Hospital and development of the detox program.

Vicente “Panama” Alba was a member of the Young Lords Party and counselor at Lincoln Detox Center in the South Bronx, New York in the 1970s. He now lives in Puerto Rico.

Johanna Fernández is Associate Professor of History at Baruch College (CUNY) and author of The Young Lords: A Radical History on the Puerto Rican counterpart of the Black Panther Party. Her Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) lawsuit against the NYPD, recovered the largest repository of police surveillance records in the country— over one million NYPD surveillance files, including those of Malcolm X. She is a leading member of the movement to bring home Mumia Abu-Jamal and other political prisoners.

Calls to Action

Related Resources

Lincoln Detox + NADA
The Young Lords
  • We Took the Streets: Fighting for Latino Rights with the Young Lords by Miguel “Mickey” Melendez
  • The Young Lords: A Radical History by Johanna Fernández

About the 2021 NADA History Series

Over the course of 2021 we are exploring questions of how we got to where we are today and the stories we’ve told and not told about NADA’s origins. The series will be a space for community dialogue, connection, and healing. Our goal is to have a more complete understanding of NADA’s roots and legacy. With a more conscious awareness of these origins, we can intentionally fulfill our mission of making the NADA protocol available and accessible to all as a tool for community building, healing, and liberation. Learn more.

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