15 April, 2019
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INPUD is deeply saddened by the passing of our member, friend, previous Director on our Board, our representative, and our facilitator, Dean Lewis.
Dean was determined to live his life with grace and fire, and in this he succeeded. He was relentlessly and consistently thoughtful and was as generous to people as he was aggravating and demanding of institutions who metered out pain and destruction to his community under the aegis of prohibition. INPUD was so fortunate to have Dean as a member: he nurtured and supported our organisation in the same way he nurtured and supported individuals within our community, understanding fully the importance of the movement. He was widely respected, liked, and loved by his peers and community.
He was a formidable and perceptive advocate: his quiet dignity and personal charm, his nimble mind, rapid articulation, and incisive syntax, all informed his well-earned reputation as a go-to person to represent our communities near and far
Though Dean had periods of acute ill-health, he bore these with little complaint, much humour, and an incredible stoicism. Even at times when he could not afford to pay for his lifesaving medications, he would patiently wait for circumstances to change and rarely accepted any financial assistance.
Dean moved between very different and diverse worlds: he travelled around the world, representing numerous organisations, staying in large hotels; at times he would go home to India and live in very modest circumstances, identifying as a member of the street-based community.
He worked and socialised with the drug-using community where he was embraced as a peer. He was successful in his work with diverse people and communities in numerous silos, working and campaigning in areas so pressing to him and his communities, focussing on blood-borne infections, tuberculosis, sexually transmitted infections, and drug and alcohol policy. In every area in which Dean worked, he was embraced, loved, and known as a co-worker and collaborative friend.
With Dean’s death, our movement has lost a giant. When Dean left us to gambol among the poppies, the grasses, the leaves and plants, we lost a staunch advocate; we lost a vociferous ally; we lost a humorous and perceptive subversive; we lost a giant intellect.
Most importantly, and tragically, we lost a devoted and loyal friend.
All over the world, we will miss you Dean.