ABRPO BLM Solidarity Statement

ABRPO provides compassionate presence and educational support to mitigate the impacts of HIV/AIDS related loss and grief on diverse communities across Ontario. In line with our focus on creating educational tools and interventions that acknowledge and address the complex factors that impact peoples’ grief experiences, we are moved to respond to the continued violence and injustice Black communities face everyday, and the grief and trauma that results from that oppression. In the true definition of compassion, which is to suffer with someone, we will not turn away or stay silent in the wake of continued violence toward Black people in North America or across the world.

There is an illusion that the HIV/AIDS epidemic ended with access to medication and increased supportive resources. This may be true in some communities, but we know that the epidemic is ongoing in Black communities in Ontario and around the globe. White supremacy ensures that all peoples of African descent have minimal access to life saving technologies. It is one example among many of how anti-Black racism manifests through lack of access to affordable medications, supportive infrastructure, and resources. Our efforts toward the well-being of HIV+ communities must prioritize African, Caribbean, and Black people.

The AIDS movement in North America grew from and with the legacy of queer liberation, which would not be possible without the bravery and perseverance of Black trans women, who are especially at risk from complications of HIV. Let this be a reminder to our non-black 2SLGBTQ+ community to remember our history and re-dedicate ourselves so that there is no liberation and health security for some without liberation and health security for all.

Building on ABRPO’s enduring commitment to working collaboratively across diverse communities, we will continue to grow as the movement does. As the white (and non-black IPOC) members of the ABRPO, we invite courage to beat through our hearts so we can speak and act out against anti-Black racism. We invite clarity into our minds so we can know the ways we are complicit in oppression. We commit to do better, to keep learning, and to listen to Black community members. To the Black facilitators and staff at the ABRPO and to the African, Caribbean, and Black communities we serve: we see you. The impact of our work wouldn’t be the same without your knowledge, expertise and unique lived experiences. We commit to turning a critical eye on the theories that inform our understanding of grief to make sure your experiences and needs are honored.

Your lives matter. All Black lives matter.