As a charity and service organization, Bruce House has a responsibility to advocate for our clients. That includes, of course, their needs around managing HIV. It includes health, food, shelter, and everything that impacts their well-being.
This means we cannot, and must not, ignore inequities and injustices which impact our clients. It is our responsibility to speak up, to be part of the collective voice, and to honestly examine ourselves and our practices for bias.
We know what our African, Caribbean, and Black (ACB) clients are not only more likely than most Canadians to be living with HIV, they are also more likely to face poverty, food insecurity, violence, incarceration, inadequate health care, inappropriate housing, and a host of other issues. In short: racism.
We know that Black people often face abuse and violence from authorities, including police. We know this is not only an American problem, and that we need to deal with own systemic racism.
We stand in solidarity with all Black and ACB communities as friends and allies. We know that we may at times have been part of the problem—that is the nature of systemic issues—and we take responsibility for doing better.
How many lives are too many?
How many children must cry? How many adults must live in fear and loss?
What will it take for this to stop?
We, as a society, must learn from our past, face or present, and decide on our future.
We must have the courage to acknowledge an uncomfortable and painful reality. Racism is here in Canada. It is systemic. Canada was built on colonialism. Our national railroad was built on racism. The genocide of Indigenous peoples has never ended. African, Black, and Caribbean communities are at higher risk of poverty, HIV, incarceration, substance use, violence, abuse…
We have made great strides towards a just, fair, and equitable society. It is time to take another step, and to say, “no more.”
Black Lives Matter Statement
Ontario’s HIV sector stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter to resist anti-Black racism and anti-Black violence
As we continue to use our collective tools and voices to dismantle HIV stigma and to challenge the status quo, we must begin to speak out louder on behalf of and with Black communities and organizations like Black Lives Matter. We must collectively acknowledge high and persistent HIV rates in Ontario’s African, Caribbean and Black communities and the ways that anti-Black racism and persistent health inequities contribute to this reality. Our collective voices must also rise in resistance to anti-Indigenous racism, transphobia, and countless other forms of oppression in our community.