ACCM stands in solidarity with the fight against white supremacy, police brutality, and systemic racism; we stand in solidarity with the fight for Black lives, and justice for those murdered by police and affected by police brutality.
This includes the recent murders in the US of Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, and George Floyd. But this violence is not exclusive to the US, and is just as prevalent in Canada, shown by the murders of Regis Korchinski-Paquet in Toronto, and Nicholas Gibbs in Montreal. Notably, Montreal police are 4-5 times more likely to stop Black and Indigenous people and perform street checks.
We want to acknowledge that we, as an organization, are not exempt of shortcomings. While we strive to offer programming that is safe for BIPOCs, we also must recognize that we have a history of people telling us that our space has not always felt safe. We know we have a lot of work to do, not only in repairing these wrongs, but also in building a future where all HIV-positive BIPOCs feel comfortable accessing our services to get the help they need. We want to do our best to support those who need it and actively fight against systems that perpetuate violence. White supremacy should not go unchallenged, and it is the responsibility of those of us in positions of power and privilege to address it through self-reflection, education and action while not expecting labour from those affected. Being anti-racist means constantly listening to Black and Indigenous people, learning from them and passing that knowledge on through our own circles. It means showing up at a protest or supporting it any way possible. It also means learning about past histories and showing appreciation for the work that has been done and that is ongoing.
At this time, it is important to highlight the intersections of injustice faced by people who are HIV positive and QTBIPOC. We live in a society where racism exists in all branches of its systems, including healthcare and the criminal justice system. Black and Indigenous communities are disproportionately affected by HIV in Canada and have more barriers to accessing healthcare and treatment. Within this community, those who live with disabilities are even more at risk and often end up dead after calling the police for help. Further, being Black and queer and/or trans means being much more likely to face violence and death. The Human Rights Campaign estimated that trans women are 4.3 times more likely to become homicide victims than cis women, and the vast majority of the victims are Black. Let’s not forget that Black trans women started the riots for queer liberation. These injustices can no longer be tolerated and we must strive for positive change.
For our members living with HIV and/or hepatitis C, our staff member Alex has offered to provide by-and-for BIPOC active listening support during this time. We want to prioritize Black, trans and queer people living with HIV, as their needs are too often ignored by queer communities and Black communities. We see you, we hear you, and we are here for you. For support, please contact Alex at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gap-Vies is a community organization in Montreal, originally started in 1987 works for Black and Caribbean populations living with HIV in the city. You can donate to this organization here:
The Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention (Black CAP) in Toronto is a by-and-for organization committed to improving the well-being of the community of African, Carribean, and Black folks living with HIV in Toronto. You can donate to this organisation here: http://www.blackcap.ca/page.php?u=/about/donate
Hoodstock is an organization in Montreal North that focuses on generating spaces for dialogue and mobilizing initiatives to eliminate systemic inequalities and develop inclusive and safe communities. They are also doing work to combat COVID-19 during this time. You can donate to this organization here: https://laruchequebec.com/projet/protegeons-montreal-nord-ensemble-7183/
For those of you who are not directly confronted with these realities on a regular basis, Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein compiled the following information for you to learn: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BRlF2_zhNe86SGgHa6-VlBO-QgirITwCTugSfKie5Fs/preview?pru=AAABcnZ6LbU%2AYc3bTRclpkgHtgfkDJCXeg&fbclid=IwAR0MVb7jsElVJw7QZHy6amSaDQeK20phxT58WekkA58xQHFPOQUYsz3j_ZU