Anti-Black Racism Public Health Crisis Declaration

The Ontario AIDS Network (OAN) formally declares anti-Black racism a public health crisis within the HIV sector. This crisis continues to impede equitable delivery of the community-based HIV response across the province and obstructs the health and wellbeing of African, Caribbean, Black Latinx, and Black (ACB) people living in Ontario. Further, the OAN declares its commitment to compel health systems officials, local and provincial government, and leaders within the province’s health units, boards, and systems to take this step forward and join the OAN in formally declaring anti-Black racism a public health crisis.

We stand against racism text on cardboard on dark background
We stand against racism text on cardboard on dark background

The OAN, through this declaration statement and our ongoing response against anti-Black racism, joins a small number of public health boards, and many Black health leaders, echoing their collective call to unapologetically confront white supremacy and address anti-Black racism within Ontario’s health care systems including the HIV care, treatment and support networks, and in workplaces within the HIV sector.

Our organization is not satisfied to stand idle in solidarity. We are intently mobilizing toward strategic and material action that will be informed by the histories and needs of African, Caribbean, Black Latinx, and Black (ACB) people in Ontario. As we move forward, the OAN is supporting our membership and sector to address the many systemic inequities that continue to impact health, wellbeing, and safety, and limit access to HIV treatment, prevention, testing and care for ACB people living with or affected by HIV.

As an organization, we are striving to meet this moment, however, the OAN itself publicly acknowledges our own role in sustaining systems and practices that perpetuate anti-Black racism and have caused the active disengagement of racialized people from HIVsupports, treatment, prevention, and the Care Cascade. We urge our members to join us in reflecting on the decades of damage caused by a colonialist system; a system that has played a near-singular role in establishing and preserving the inequitable structures we now strive to deconstruct.

It is our intention to work alongside our members and partners to address and redress an oppressive health system rooted in white supremacy, and to contribute to the decolonization of the public health HIV response in Ontario. Throughout this process, we will strive to enable health equity for Black, African, Afro-Latinx, and Caribbean people including men, women, Trans and people with gender diverse lived experiences, and youth living with and affected by HIV/AIDS—all of whom have historically been marginalized by our public health and social systems.

To learn more about the OAN’s anti-Black racism work, and to access tools, visit our resource page.

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